‘The Feast’ Review – This Unusual Horror Fails to Serve its Meal | SXSW 2021

The Feast is an interesting take on the now-common parable known as “eat the rich,” a saying popularized by last year’s Parasite and Ready or Not. This film’s parable, however, also relates to the environment, with the leading family being investors in oil preparing to destroy even more of the surrounding Welsh landscape. It illustrates its moral tale in a brooding, yet rather lackluster way. What The Feast tackles is important, regarding conserving the environment, but its execution doesn’t pull it off in the strongest of ways.

The story follows Cadi (Annes Elwy), who is the last-minute replacement assistant to Glenda (Nia Roberts). She aids in domestic matters to help move this rich family’s dinner plans along swiftly. Although it’s evident that Cadi isn’t very good at her job as she consistently touches things, tracks in dirt, and dribbles in food. Albeit, no one is privy to these actions. The family’s dinner guests are Mair (Lisa Palfrey), a friendly neighbor, and Euros (Rhodri Meilir), a businessman who deals in oil and is a long-time business partner to Glena’s husband Gwyn (Julian Lewis).

The Feast is extremely mysterious, building up by showing odd circumstances that tease its conclusion. Cutting between the inside of the family house, to some seemingly disjointed moments of Saint Maud-like pleasure as Cadi becomes enraptured in some very strange places. Overall, the film is very metaphorical but fails to deliver much intrigue beyond its initial premise of an impending feast, where one presumes the family will be eaten. That is mainly down to the opening and middle lacking any sort of grip on the spectator, meaning that when the feast eventually comes, one feels disconnected from it.

What comes is rather obvious, one can see it from a mile away. The Feast had the potential to do something quite radical, akin to Parasite‘s terrific execution and successful messaging. Yet, being so similar in intentions to the Academy Award-winning film is just one point where The Feast falters because it’s got absolutely nothing on it. The tone and mood are very different from the South Korean triumph, stepping more into the moody depths of an unusual type of horror.

The atmosphere is backed up by the film’s cinematography which consistently boasts a dreamy feel, mainly due to its extreme use of depth of field. Creating an uncanny, but almost weirdly unprofessional, student film-like effect. Although the cinematic techniques are unusual and not common use, in the hands of a better director its inventiveness could have amounted to much more than what The Feast is.

The Feast delivers on its title’s premise with the film’s gory ending, which lacks a punch due to one’s disconnection from the victims who come across as very one-dimensional and intentionally strange. Although, it must be noted that a certain twist when the mother looks out the window, leading to a shift in her character, is probably the most interesting part of the film. It becomes clear that what the viewer has been waiting for is imminent, as flashes of a blood-filled feast litter the climactic ending. Ultimately, any emotional impact just doesn’t land due to it missing the mark on its first two courses, therefore, letting down the taste of the third.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

The Feast was selected to play at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival

Check out more of our 2021 festival coverage here!

Follow Senior Film Critic Ben Rolph on Twitter: @THEDCTVSHOW

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