The original FEAST was financed by Project Greenlight, an annual contest seeking to aid the financing of movies from aspiring young filmmakers. Boasting connections to Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Wes Craven, the Project gave FEAST a decent push into the genre market and subsequently it became a minor cause celebre of 2005. It even co-starred Balthazar Getty - famous elsewhere for, er, fucking Sienna Miller behind his wife's back.
Competition winner and writer-director John Gulager (son of genre hero Clu Gulager [THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD]) followed the film up with a more-of-the-same 2008 sequel, which kicked off exactly where the first film finished and continued along the lines of fast-paced gore accompanied by irreverent humour and cartoonish characters.
But, could Gulager carry this style into a third chapter?
Well, the good news is that FEAST 3: THE HAPPY FINISH starts EXACTLY where the second instalment ended - after a brief gory recap - and is short at 73 minutes in length.
Actually, I'm being harsh. We start with the customary Tarantino-esque on-screen text introducing us to the unfolding story's characters - midget wrestler Thunder (Martin Klebba), black powerhouse Slasher (Carl Anthony Payne II), Lightning (Juan Longoria Garcia), the seemingly immortal Bartender (Clu Gulager), disfigured Biker Queen (Diane Ayala Goldner), Greg Swank (Tom Gulager), sexy Tat Girl (Chelsea Richards), bad boy Hobo (William Prael), pretty Secrets (Hannah Putnam) and perennial heroine Honey Pie (Jenny Wade).
Along with their names, the viewer is also given their occupations, special skills and - of course - life expectancies. But don't expect these to be too reliable: there are a few surprising fatalities in the film's opening moments.
From then onwards, FEAST 3 positively races along following a high-octane bid to escape a small town infested by flesh-eating aliens. The above human survivors are a disparate bunch of folk who must work together to fend off the ugly space monsters (think HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP-meets-THE DEADLY SPAWN), and are this time joined by newcomer Shitkicker (John Allen Nelson) - who we learn is "allergic to pussies".
Shitkicker informs the group that the problem is more widespread than they imagined: the army are not coming to their rescue, as the army has been wiped out by aliens too.
After a couple of quieter minutes where the group appear downtrodden (literally two minutes), Shitkicker rallies them together and they resolve to exit the sheriff's office they're hiding out in and take on the aliens with gusto.
Throw into this gumbo pot a prophet called Short Bus Gus (Josh Blue) who can supposedly control the alien creatures with his hearing aid, and a karate expert called Jean-Claude Segal (Craig Henningsen), and you can see how FEAST 3 is a rocket-fuelled, incomprehensible mess.
But its lack of logic doesn't stop it from being highly entertaining.
For a start, it looks great. The sunny daytime photography is aesthetically pleasing and Gulager has a keen eye for framing. The film is tightly edited in a way that complements the snappy storytelling style, as well as Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan's frequently witty script. All of the performances are spunky enough to impress, despite the fact that the pace is too quick and the action too relentless to allow us time to relate to anyone. It doesn't matter: the FEAST films don't exist as affecting drama, they're daft gore-fests that would've changed the world had they first seen the light of the day in the early 80s.
As they stand, in 2010, the FEAST films stand as a decent trilogy of consistent standard. They are brutally bloody (part 3 is the goriest so far, and the FX are good - pleasingly free from CGI gore too), and all have the same agreeable visual style.
To enjoy FEAST 3, and indeed the FEAST films, though, is to accept that Gulager is very much from the school of post-Tarantino filmmaking (every character has to be hip and aware of their own trash culture origins). It also helps if you look upon this more as a computer game committed to film: the colourful, exaggerated characters; the kinetic action; the plotless violence; the comedic absurdities (characters die only to appear alive again with little or no explanation).
At the end of the day, FEAST 3 is exactly the same as FEAST 2. And not too dissimilar to the original FEAST. If you haven't seen them, I'll elaborate: it's daft, senseless, gory, ludicrously fast-paced, stunningly well-shot, has women running around with their tits out for no apparent reason, and it's perhaps a little too desperate to be cool.
FEAST 3 is presented uncut (assuming this is the "unrated" cut that's also out over in America from Dimension Extreme - could it get any bloodier?) in an amazing anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer. Colours are deep without bleeding, detail is incredibly fine and flesh tones are accurate throughout. It's a gorgeous presentation of a modern digital proposition.
The English audio comes to us in choices of 2.0 and 5.1 mixes. The former is fine, but the latter really hammers things home when the score amps itself up.
A bright, eye-grabbing animated main menu page leads into an animated scene-selection menu that allows access to the main feature via 8 chapters.
There are no extra features related to FEAST 3, but the disc defaults to open with forced trailers for THE INTERCEPTOR, CHAW and WHITEOUT.
The US disc, incidentally, includes filmmakers' commentary, an 8-minute featurette on the director and trailers for all 3 FEAST films.
I was going to close this review with something witty like "No more FEASTs please, we're stuffed". That's not witty, but I hope you know what I mean. Anyway, I've been foiled - this is a lot of fun for the undemanding gore hound.
I'd like to see Gulager try his hand at something else now though (I do believe I said that in my review of FEAST 2 ...?)
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Optimum Home Entertainment|
|Region 2 - PAL|
|see main review|