#SXSW: “THE FEAST”
Review by David Baldwin
A wealthy family is gathering for a dinner party at their luxurious home in the Welsh mountains. They have made a tremendous amount of money selling-off portions of their land to be stripped for mineral mining, and intend to convince a neighbouring couple to do the same over dinner with their business partner. Matriarch Glenda (Nia Roberts) is a little frazzled preparing for the meal, so she is overjoyed when their hired hostess Cadi (Annes Elwy) arrives to help her with setting up. But something is off about Cadi, and as day becomes night, strange things start happening to the family.
I am still unsettled days after watching THE FEAST and the hairs on my arms are sticking up just thinking about it. The way it methodically ratchets up the tension is a thing of beauty, and the way it unleashes the atrocities it inflicts on its cast members is downright disturbing. My jaw hit the floor more than once, equally shocked and repulsed by some of the imagery on display here. The makeup and gore is astounding and the Film’s allegorical nature burrows down deeper than I ever imagined. Even the appearance of the house itself (which I am almost certain is the same house as Kevin Bacon’s vacation rental in last summer’s You Should Have Left) is terrifying. There is so much going on within THE FEAST and I am afraid I am not doing it justice by chipping away at the surface. For gorehounds and supernatural Horror fans alike, this is a must-see.
The Cast is excellent across the board, each not wasting any moment of the Film’s 92-minute running time. The Film unpacks and deconstructs every single one of them, taking the utmost glee at letting them be totally oblivious to what may or may not be happening to them. The clear standout is Elwy, who is an absolute revelation as Cadi. She has very few lines, but says so much with her silence and curious body language. It does not matter how enigmatic her character is – she makes an indelible impression on every scene that will have you questioning everything you see. Oh, and what she does with that shard of glass? Absolute nightmare fuel.
The only way I would have liked THE FEAST more would be if I were able to see it with a screaming Midnighters crowd. It is the kind of experience Festivals are made for, and it is unfortunate that it will not be experienced that way in-person.
THE FEAST screens at SXSW Wednesday, March 17, 2021 starting at 9 PM.