The Feast 2021
CultureMovies

Will The Feast satisfy you? – The Feast (2021) Review

It’s a bright and beautiful day. Blue skies and birds are singing amongst the trees and a pumpjack is drilling the earth for its sweet, sweet petroleum. That is how The Feast (2021), a Welsh language horror film directed by debutant Lee Haven Jones, opens.

Earlier in the week, I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening of the project at Hackney Picturehouse, the film’s official distributor in the UK, and go into the session without knowing a single plot point of it. All I knew was that it was a horror film and that some gore was about to unroll. If you ask me, this is the best way of approaching any film.

So, completely deprived of any information and listening to people arguing about their seats, the lights went down and the film sucked us into its delicious visuals.

It does not take long for the first hints of gore to come up, laying the groundwork for later set pieces. However, the moment is brief and soon we are pulled into a quiet introduction of our ensemble cast.

We first meet the mother/wife, Gland, who is a former farm girl and appearance-obsessed. Following that we are introduced to the sons/brothers Guto and Gweirydd, the first is a recovering drug addict and the last is a total creep training to complete a triathlon. Finally, we meet the father/husband Gwyn, who is a cocky hunter and part of the UK parliament.

We quickly realize this is not a well-functioning family, but the addition of Cadi, the local pub girl, seems to make matters worse.

We first meet the mother/wife, Gland, who is a former farm girl and appearance-obsessed. Following that we are introduced to the sons/brothers Guto and Gweirydd, the first is a recovering drug addict and the last is a total creep training to complete a triathlon. Finally, we meet the father/husband Gwyn, a cocky hunter and a member of the UK parliament.

We quickly realize this is not a well-functioning family, but the addition of Cadi, the local pub girl, seems to make matters worse.

The feast, a simple and straightforward film

The plot of the film is very simple and straightforward. This rich family is having a dinner party, their guests are Euros – a sleazy businessman – and the couple Mair and Lori, local farmers and old friends of Glenda. The rich family’s intention is soon revealed: in extracting petroleum from their land, they came across some riches in the underground that could make them millions.

However, most of these riches cross the frontiers between their and Mair and Lori’s land. Therefore, they must convince the couple to allow them to explore their farm as well. However, this area they went to explore called Rising is believed to be inhabited by a mythical creature, a Goddess to be precise, and under no circumstances should it be disturbed.

This is the most significant plot we get from the film and a lot of it is introduced only by the end of the second act. Saying this is a mood piece would be an understatement.

Most of the movie follows the silent protagonist, Cadi. She moves around through the story, observing the others from the shadows. She seems to be almost in a trance-like state, only snapping out of it when she is startled by Gwyn’s gunshots, or worse, when she sees the two dead rabbits he has brought to dinner.

The Feast

Slowly, Cadi’s behaviours escalate from odd – like dirt coming out of her hand even though they are clean – to completely bizarre, culminating in a scene where (spoiler alert, if this could be considered a spoiler) shoves a broken shard of glass up her vagina. However, it doesn’t seem to hurt her at all.

Some other gross moments include Cadi vomiting in the food the guests are eating or when the drug addict brother’s feet start to decay after he cut himself at the beginning of the film. All of this quiet weirdness leads to the big gory final act, which comes to explain what was going on all along.

If you are averse to spoilers, this is the moment I advise you to stop reading effective immediately. As I said, this is not a plot-heavy film so what I am about to discuss is pretty much all the surprise you will get from the story. So, consider yourself warned and let’s get to it!

The beginning of the end is when Mair arrives alone. She was supposed to come with her husband but an accident happened on the road and he was leading the tractor to help and pull out the car from the water. Although tragic, it appears a common accident. For now, we have to continue on to the awkward dinner scene where Glenda tries to buy Mair’s farm, Guto is hallucinating from the mushrooms Cadi gave him earlier, and Gweirydd is a complete jerk to Cadi during the meal.

After the party has failed, Mair leaves and more strange things start to happen. For instance, Cadi eats the maggots and rotten flesh from Guto’s leg. Logic slowly slips away from the film and it is only when Mair returns that it all comes crashing down.

Glenda’s old friend returns to warn her that the car found in the accident belonged to Cadi and that no person would have been able to survive a crash like that. There is only one way in which the so-called Cadi was at the house with them; it wasn’t really her.

The Feast - Cadi

With the revelation that Cadi is actually just a body, possessed by the Goddess of the Rising, violence runs loose in the house and soon we witness “Cadi” kill or manipulate all the other people in the house into killing themselves. After the murder spree, she burns their bodies and walks back into the forest. The film ends with Cadi/Goddess walking in an open field – the same one from the beginning – smiling at the birds twittering away, only to then look directly into the camera and frown in near tears.

On a general note, The Feast is an exciting and, at times, provocative watch. At its best, it really excels at creating character development in a very subtle plot. The performances are quiet and restricted at times. It’s like watching a kettle heating up; you know it will start screaming, you just don’t know when. Very fitting for a film that is so dominated by mood.

Another merit of this film is its cinematography. Landscapes create beautiful and peaceful imagery of nature, only to be contrasted by the empty and clinical spaces of the house. Characters wander in shadowed corridors and watch each other through windows and doors, and the film is just as voyeuristic as its characters.

Even the gore has an aesthetic sense to it. Blood is bright red contrasting with the whites and greys in the house, the fire scene becomes a psychedelic montage with the fire burning so hot it burns blue. It is truly a feast to the senses (sorry, had to do it). However, the film is not without its faults.

Personally, I have two main issues with the film. The first one is how the story is divided into chapters. This tactic is not inherently a bad one, but it must serve a purpose in telling the story. What difference will it make if you remove these title cards? Will the story shift its meaning? In the case of The Feast, these chapters don’t really serve much of a purpose. The feeling they leave is that of writers not knowing how to transition from one story point to another, instead just opting out by separating it with title cards.

There is also the fact that these titles are, unoriginally, borrowed lines from their corresponding chapter. This leads me to the biggest issue I had with this film. It thinks it’s being subtle in its message when it is clearly not.

The insurgency of eco-horror in the last few years has brought us some interesting takes but sometimes they just reuse uninspired rhetoric, not really diving into the complexities of global warming and the role that humans play in it. The Feast is guilty of such a sin. The movie also has a tendency to over-explain its themes or plot points, which can become tiresome to the audience.

The Feast (2021) is a fun watch for horror fans who are looking for a more lo-fi, Ex Machina approach. However, it becomes too self-involved with its own metaphors, leading to a lacklustre feeling after the credits start rolling.

About the author

Will The Feast satisfy you? – The Feast (2021) Review | Rock and Art
Livia Reim
+ posts
Share:

1 comment

Leave a reply