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[SXSW Review] ‘The Feast’ is a fucking eco-horror

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If there is a trend among the genre films that will be screened at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, it is that they all have a message to convey. Some have been misguided, while others have been clumsy. Party is following this trend but does so in a more subtle way, prioritizing its characters and their disturbing situation while mischievously sneaking an environmental message.

During a lengthy, dialogue-free opening sequence, we are introduced to a wealthy family living in the mountains of Wales: parents Glenda (Nia roberts) And Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones) and his sons: triathlon trainee Gweirydd (Sion Alun Davies) and the free-spirited Guto (Steffan cennydd). They are preparing for an elegant meal, with the intention of securing a business deal with mine in the surrounding countryside. When Glenda’s new assistant, Cadi (Annes elwy) arrives to help with dinner preparations, the family’s beliefs and values ​​are challenged as his quiet but haunting presence begins to unravel their lives.

Party is the feature film directorial debut of Lee Haven Jones after a decade working in television, and everything that has worked has paid off because he directs the film with a surprisingly confident hand. A special mention should be given to the cinematographer. Bjørn Ståle Bratberg, who works with limited space within the family home. Remember the stellar work of Mike Gioulakis and Jarin Blaschke on Apple TV +. Server (revision). The scenes inside the house remain cramped and claustrophobic, and one of the most interesting places in the film is Glenda’s spa room, which another character describes as a literal cell. It is only when the camera enters the Welsh countryside that you, as a viewer, feel a sense of relief, and Haven has a lot of fun alternating screen time between each of the two settings.

Screenwriter Roger williams draw things for most of Partyexecution time. This isn’t to say it’s boring, but viewers expecting a bloodbath from start to finish should look elsewhere. Unfortunately, Williams plays things close to the vest for too long, and the big reveal comes in the final 20 minutes of the movie. This wouldn’t be a problem if the movie didn’t telegraph the reveal 30 minutes early, but because it does, it deflates the impact of the ending. It’s a real shame, considering how excellent the preparation has been so far. That said, the climax is far from disappointing, as the walls are literally spattered with blood and gore (one sequence in particular involving a worm-infested leg left this reviewer gagging).

All the actors do a commendable job, with Roberts landing the most striking role as the ostensible lead in the film, although this could easily be considered an ensemble film. Initially introduced as a materialistic harpy who is beyond upset that the local grocery store doesn’t sell bok choy, her acting allows her to open up to the point where you really sympathize with her, especially once things start to get violent. Elwy is essentially the film’s co-star, though her role is far less flashy as it requires her to take a creepy look at everything that goes on around her. Still, its evolution from haunting to menacing to menacing over the course of the film is flawless and believable.

Party you have a message in mind, and although you might think it boils down to “rich people = bad, poor people = good,” you would be very wrong. Party rises above a heavy-handed delivery and instead delivers a deliberately paced eco-horror flick that acts as a deft mix of Karyn Kusama’s masterpiece. The invitation (review) and the aforementioned Server. He spends too much time lounging around before the big climax (and it’s a big climax), but it’s worth your time.

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