Friday, February 6, 2009

Feast III: The Happy Finish [***]

After a lackluster second entry the gang that brought us “Feast” is back in top form with the third chapter of the trilogy-- a relatively brief entry that hits the ground running and made me realize “Feast II” was the breather and connective tissue we needed for an admittedly bizarre and kick ass sequel/possible finale. A few of the things set up in part two pay dividends in this entry—such as alien hybrids and pipes through the head—but a lot of the unexpected rears it’s head.

Doing their level best to survive the onslaught that started at the end of the last film our motley gang nails a few beasts then hole up in the town jail they tried unsuccessfully to occupy in the previous film. Therein they meet a survivalist named Shitkicker (John Allen Nelson, sublime) before things turn ugly and they vow to take the fight to the creatures. The gang befriends and escape to the sewers with a prophet named Short Bus Gus, who may or may not be able to control and communicate with the aliens.

In order to avoid spoiling a few truly great surprises I’ll tell you that a bizarre subculture exists down there in addition to the monsters and leave it at that, but I will tell you that the humor while keeping with the grand tradition of being “so not right” is actually funny again. My least favorite joke from the second film where a guy named Greg Swank sacrifices a baby to save himself has a long, irony laden and pretty damn funny pay-off where Greg lives through most of this film with a pipe sticking through his head and he’s disoriented, all his dialogue is unintelligible and subtitled and he thinks the surviving midget luchador from the last film is the baby he killed and this is his shot at redemption.

When I saw “Feast” in 2005 I admired the scene where a soldier was allowed to drink for free at the bar because the bartender was a World War II vet and respected what he did, it was a nice touch that felt pretty wholesome and American. The movie also had a kid getting eaten, old people getting interrogated and blown up and it was just good gruesome fun that embraced being an old fashioned bloody ass, bloody entertaining piece of joy. It also had some pathos to it, as one woman fights to survive to care for another’s child, two brothers band together to live, people had their reasons for wanting to survive and some did. It’s not easy to see that current going through the films but it is there.

Writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan like to keep you on your toes with some truly bizarre and unpredictable shit, but one of the surprising things they do is offer up a sense of fairness and balance. Things don’t always end happily for everyone as wars don’t always let heroes choose to die in a manner that befits them, but they see to it that those who deserve it and act selfishly find a way to meet their doom with unusually healthy doses of irony and agony.

About the only real negative I can say about the film is there is an extended strobe-lit sequence that stands in for the jarring shaky cam work of the first as far as bad directorial choices go and it’s frankly pretty damn irritating. That being said, I can pretty much eat the rest of this shit up.

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