Rural horror films are all the rage. Whether it’s the windswept mania of The Lighthouse, or the Icelandic wilderness of last year’s Lamb, directors have found terror in nature, and that continues with The Feast.
In the Welsh mountains, politician Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones) and his wife Glenda (Nia Roberts) live a life of simmering resentment, despite their luxury home and seemingly perfect children. One night, they prepare for a dinner party hosting a businessman and a neighbouring farmer, with a potentially lucrative mining deal on the table. Local woman Cadi (Annes Elwy) arrives as last-minute help as their server is unavailable, but this ominous new addition slowly turns the party into a nightmare.
A film that relies on a ticking clock rather than jump scares, the debut feature of director Lee Haven Jones (Doctor Who) hints at terror to come, before uncorking the madness and infusing body horror with supernatural folklore. The extremes to which the story goes may be too rough for some, with nature taking revenge in stomach churning fashion, but in Jones’ defence it’s not like there isn’t ample warning.
The cast carry the vision through brilliantly, led by an unsettling performance from Elwy. Growing increasingly ominous in the background as the self-obsessed characters chase status, she is chilling in every scene. A close second is Roberts as the head of the household, ignoring the suffering in her own life in order to impress strangers. While few in the cast are likeable, will be depressingly familiar to most of us.
Raw and uncompromising, The Feast is for horror fans who like their stories pitch black and unafraid to take the chills to the next level.