The Feast, 2021.
Directed by Lee Haven Jones.
Starring Nia Roberts, Annes Elwy, Julian Lewis Jones, Sion Alun Davies, Steffan Cennydd, Rhodri Meilir and Lisa Palfrey.
In a luxurious modern house in the Welsh countryside, the wealthy family of a politician play host to a mining developer and a local landowner. A young woman hired to work as waitress has her own agenda.
The uneasy arrangements between modern life and the rural idyll is writ large in The Feast.
A beautifully put-together and often beguiling mystery horror flick, it has plenty of things about it to set it apart from the run of the mill. It’s filmed entirely in the Welsh language for starters. This lends an otherworldly feel to non-speakers of the language. There is a slow-burn quality to the story, which while treading a little heavy in the first half- hour, succeeds in delivering a suitably tense atmosphere.
The story focuses on the largely insufferable family of a MP as they host a lavish dinner party aimed at charming land owners into exploring their land.
Gwyn (Julian Lewis Jones) the politician and proud hunter (‘a killer of innocents’, as one of his sons puts it), and his wife Glenda (Nia Roberts) tend to spend most of their tine in London, but are back at their swanky Welsh mansion – all glass and metal to make the contrast with the rolling hills and dales even more apparent – to try and seal a new money-making deal.
Their two sons have their own problems. Guto (Steffan Cennydd) has been called back from the big city by his dad in an attempt to curb his fondness for gigs and spliff smoke. Gweirydd (Sion Alun Davies) is distinctly odd from the get go. Supposedly in training for a triathlon, the medical student has a creepy way about him, especially when he’s staring at the new waitress.
That new waitress is Cadi (Annes Elwy), a mysterious figure drafted in as help for the prestigious banquet. Despite having little dialogue, Elwy delivers a star-turn as the enigmatic employee. Her odd reactions when left to explore the wealthy surroundings, such as laughing manically after trying on a set of precious looking earrings, subtly puts out the idea that there is more to her than meets the eye.
Cadi’s character offers more intrigue than most of the others due to the fact that it has more dimension to it. Apart from Guto, who could hardly be blamed for wanting to escape his terrible household, the family members are all examples of pure greed in action. Their avarice is only topped by the smarmy land developer Euros (Rhodri Meilir), who ends up literally gorging himself right off the table.
The greater dangers of mining to the people and the land are also explicitly made. A scene of the wild countryside being fracked by machines of industry attempting to uncover its riches is skillfully inter-played with human frailty and blood. That scene comes right at the start, and sets the tone for a suitably grim eco-horror.
Without giving too much away, Cadi is of the earth and for the earth; protector and avenger. This kind of mythic power is woven into the modern environmental concerns extremely effectively, and offers a weird trip to the extremes.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert W. Monk