“An orgy of raw meat, ingested hair and bile.” – The Feast reviewed

If you’re hungry for a creepy folk-horror tale that’s guaranteed to put you off your dinner, this is it.

The Feast is a Welsh language film, subtitled, that centres around a dinner party thrown by a well-to-do family of generally unpleasant people. Glenda, the matriarch, is a prissy perfectionist stewing in her own materialism. Her husband Gwyn is the local MP who shoots the rabbits the family and their guests are about to devour. Then there are their two dysfunctional sons; drug dependent musician Guto and sinister doctor-slash-triathlete Gweirydd.

Hired to assist for the evening is the evidently troubled young woman Cadi, who barely speaks and creeps around the family’s home like a ghost. Needless to say, she is not all that she seems.

+++WARNING+++IF YOU’RE ALLERGIC TO SPOILERS, LOOK AWAY NOW+++

This is a compelling slow-burn of a film that provides ever more to chew on as it progresses. It’s quietly unnerving for starters, positively disturbing by the time we get to the main course, and as for dessert? Well…

Director Lee Haven Jones keeps the audience stewing as the ulterior reason for the dinner party is revealed, leading to an attack of social awkwardness severe enough to rival any of the more traditional horror elements. Also, as the sons fall under the influence of the hired help, Glenda slowly realises that a malignant force is at work, and descends into madness as her family is slowly destroyed around her.

This ‘malignant force’ is the only thing about the film which I found hard to swallow. There is a subplot about someone – only ever referred to as ‘she’ – buried in a place called The Rise, which one of the dinner party guests wants to dig up and mine for profit. I found this to be a little bit corny, but that really is just a quibble.

The film really hits its icky stride when the family and their guests start eating. Jones expertly tightens the tourniquet with every bite, expertly cranking up the tension all the way to the stomach-churning denouement without ever overegging it.

And in the middle of this orgy of raw meat, ingested hair, skinned rabbits and bile is Cadi, who remains coldly impassive yet impeccably evil throughout. It’s a brilliant and chilling performance from Annes Elwy, who conveys a hell of a lot despite saying very little.

I’m sure there are people out there who will find this film particularly tasteless, but I’m not one of them. And if, like me, you like your horror cerebral as well as visceral, make sure The Feast is on your menu.

I’ve officially run out of dinner-related puns now, so review over. Time to wash up.

The Feast is in UK cinemas now.

Published by Richard E. Rock

Cat-loving, headbanging author of the dark and fantastical.

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