Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Another Sequel That Sucks...

Project Greenlight 3 winner John Gulager's campy horror flick Feast was released in a handful of midnight screenings in 2005 before heading to DVD where it picked up cult classic status, prompting the studio to throw a back-to-back deal (not to mention buckets of more money) at the team for the sequel and third installment of the trilogy. Shot in 2007 on location, Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds (released today on DVD) and Feast 3: Happy Ending (coming in 2009) boast a larger cast of even more unknowns than the first (Jenny Wade is the biggest star, returning to lead a truckload in this "war"), more blood, more gore, and more chance to see the monster-villains on-screen... unfortunately all that excess proves to just be superfluous. Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds suffers from the lack of imagination, creativity, and ingenuity with which the first of the series soared to success; Feast 2 lacks the heart of the independent story it once was, proving once again that the extra money and inflated egos of studio films can kill a franchise.

Randy (Jamie Kennedy) from Wes Craven's Scream once said that in trilogies "all bets are off." Since the series has a clear-cut end, certain characters-- even the leads-- don't have to be kept alive for countless resurrections down the road. It seems Gulager took this advice to heart with Feast 2, opening on the morning after the initial attack in a town nearby where the creatures are now invading a whole new group of people. He throws the picture he painted in Feast out the window not only by ignoring what happened to the car of survivors that took off at dawn (Balthazar Getty must have been too busy with his TV drama and his real life personal drama to return his calls, and his working relationship with Krista Allen was definitely not positive enough to warrant her return) but also by deeming some events and their subsequent title cards false by having a character or two "not be dead after all" (I love Judah Friedlander more than the next girl, but his death was awesome, and his reemergence compromises the rules Feast set forth). A cop out way just to fill the cast with your friends and family, if you ask me, and isn't that what the studio was trying to avoid the first time around? Feast's dollar success was not great enough to allow the granting of complete power to a still-green director who, judging by the auteurship of this film, will most likely have to head back to the world of wedding videos come 2010.

What was so clever and refreshing about Feast was how Gulager made the most of what he had. He wasn't given all the fanciest FX equipment or the biggest budget for CGI. He made an old-school monster movie, with puppeteers on set, steering the hand-crafted rubber beings. He sprayed plenty of blood on his actors and the camera lens, but first and foremost, he crafted well-developed characters and dialogue, using the carnage as a visual aid, but not relying on it to carry the film. Feast 2, however, speaks to the lowest common denominator, as if everything about the filmmaking process was rushed. Between visual gags, toilet humor, and cheap costumes (seeing more of the monsters just showed the dudes in their latex suits), the budget may have doubled, but the production value has been cut off at the knees. There is a lot of the S16mm handheld "home movie" footage in this sequel, but unfortunately shooting such shots at night and "on the move" just provide dark, grainy, and offensive results-- not just to the filmmaker in me but also to the fan.

Actually Gulager's brand of humor has always been borderline, but in Feast 2 he takes it a bit too far, once again probably just drunk on the power of being in control. There are a lot of slapstick jokes at Martin Klebba's expense, and there is a scene with a baby that caused my jaw to hit the floor and my finger to hit the stop button on my DVD player. This film is nothing like the original, and if you are one of the few diehard supporters of the first, like me, you definitely should not ruin your opinion of the story by viewing this mess. Gulager himself should not have ruined the integrity of the story by making this mess!

1 comment:

Kipper said...

Here here!

Feast 2 was a spectacular disappointment. I found myself bored, and shocked at the absolute lunacy and tedium this movie set forth.

The original feast was fantastic, poking fun at every other horror movie in the world and raising the bar for gore, story line, and goodtimes all around.

Feast 2 is nothing but dribble, causing me to wonder if the first was just a fluke, or if the producers, (Ben Affleck et al) had a major hand in shaping a more perfect vision of a horror movie.

Such a fucking bummer, I've been eagerly awaiting this movie for so long, and to see it, in all of its misery was absolutely a boner killer.