This flick crossed my radar well over a year ago and up until last week I had completely forgot about it. I usually do not seek out movies shot on cameras you can buy at Best Buy (Canon DSLR) or revenge flicks for that matter. I feel the whole revenge thing has been overdone for years. But wait, this is about a celebrity chef who’s career is tanked by a bitter little blogging prick? Being a foodie and also doing some writing made this one kind of a no-brainer. Ok, you have my attention now, or maybe just enough to drag my lazy ass through a 90 minute thriller mislabeled as a black comedy.
The man of the hour is Peter Grey (James LeGros) who not only has a popular cooking show but a new uppity organic-minded restaurant called Feast. I have been a fan of LeGros going back to when he played Mike in Phantasm 2. So Mr. Grey receives a scathing review of his new restaurant from food blogger JT Franks (Joshua Leonard). Mr. Franks seems to have some pull, and loves nothing more than negatively reviewing restaurants as a way to share the pain he feels inside from the loss of a loved one to cancer. This review leads to Grey being fired from the restaurant and also losing his precious cooking show, which turns into one captured blogger and a series of tests. Each of these tests are directly based off a review he wrote and if JT cannot cook the perfect food he will receive no nourishment and will be tortured.
Right out of the gate you can tell this movie was shot on a shoestring budget, which is not always a bad thing because you tend to see more risks taken in the writing, acting, etc. Personally I could tell this was not shot using the standard equipment and cameras. Writer/director Joe Maggio chose to shoot this using a still lens camera after he was urged to by director of photography Michael McDonough. I do not think this movie looks bad, but could have looked better given the use of better equipment. A lot of shots seem unintentionally hazy or foggy while others looked a little washed out. This could be the intention of the crew but I do not feel the film benefited from that if this was the case.
Overall the writing was competent and the story flowed long almost too easily at times. This left me wondering when a scene would be over so we could move onto the next. This pretty much boils down to a standard revenge flick and you will spend a decent amount of time wondering when Grey is going to snap on camera and start rubbing himself in blood while manically laughing.. This never really happens and the main character is a bit too reserved throughout the feature. The dialog is where I believe there is some saving grace. LeGros is a convincing enough actor when speaking, and each time as he read a review prior to his victim’s next challenge the hair stood up on my neck a bit.
I guess I missed the horror and comedy this was billed as by most. Most of the time when I think they were attempting a darker humor it fell flat and kinda stalled the scene. If you are expecting the next Hostel or Saw, move on because this is not going to fill that “torture porn” void inside you. This movie would have benefited from more gore. A lot of the actual horror was off camera and to be assumed by the viewer. I cannot recall the rating of this movie, but with so little horror/gore it could have easily been a strong PG-13 and I would not have batted an eye lash.
Ok, I have waited 70 or so minutes hoping to see some type of finale or twisted ending. By this time I am starting to watch the DVD timer because I feel the best parts of this movie have already come and gone. Looks like I was 100% right because the ending pretty much sucked. I was hoping the movie’s slow pace was only a ramp to the kick-ass ending this movie needed. Don’t get me wrong, the challenges were creative and I loved how he tied them up with the nasty reviews JT wrote, but that all falls flat and is almost meaningless by the movie’s end. Given a different ending this flick could have shaved at least a beer off.
This was a good movie to watch for free, especially if you are into cooking, food, or blogging/writing. I do wonder how often a blogger is attacked for a poor-ass review regardless of legitimacy. This film will also make some of you writers feel a little proud if you really write honestly regardless of the subject because let’s face it, who wants to be kidnapped and tortured because you are a heartless dick of a blogger?
Take a Drink: anytime cooking utensils are present.
Take a drink: anytime a review is read or referred to on screen.
Take a Shot: if you can name the celebrity chef cameo in the film.