Lee Haven Jones’s The Feast, or Gwleđđ to give it its Welsh name, is an intriguing Welsh-language horror that takes aim at wealthy classes’ disregard for both the natural world and those in their community, though it doesn’t hit the target. Taking place over one day as a wealthy Welsh family prepares for a dinner party at their farm in rural Wales, The Feast is a slow burn horror that holds off on the meat and gravy until the final act. Up to that point we are forced to spend time with the family, and unfortunately they’re not particularly interesting or likeable.
We’ve got brothers Gweirydd, a horny doctor taking a break from his vocation to focus on triathlon training, and Guto, a recovering drug addict longing for his former life in the city. Their parents are Gwyn, the local MP who lies about shooting the rabbits for dinner, and Glenda, a snoot who’s clearly grown accustomed to the finer things in life. It is reserve catering assistant Cadi who brings the creeping sense of terror. Aloof and prone to rather odd activities, the mystery surrounding Cadi’s inherent strangeness is what maintains interest while the family are arguing amongst themselves.
Once guests Euros – the family’s financial adviser – and Mair – from the neighbouring farm – arrive, things begin to pick up a little as the motive behind the dinner party is revealed. Things quickly escalate and before long it’s a full-on bloodbath. But for the life of me I couldn’t work it out. Drawing rather incoherently on Gaelic folklore, the finale comes off as a meshing together of eco- and folk horror as well as a criticism of capitalist greed, but all these strands are too disparate to be cogent. Whilst the film’s disturbing imagery is effective, ultimately The Feast spends too much time meandering with humdrum characters for the payoff to be effective.
This review was written by Oli Gamble, member of the thatfilmbloguk team, American and Canadian Studies student, and co-host of the thatfilmbloguk podcast.