Monday, October 18, 2010

Feeding Frenzy

This is exactly what a low budget horror movie should be like. It’s the newest film by the guys at Red Letter Media, who have risen to some measure of internet fame from their video series critiquing the Star Wars prequels. With Feeding Frenzy, they have shown that, given a budget less than 1% of the first half of Phantom Menace, they can make a much better movie.

The film, which cheerfully advertises itself as an homage to “Critters, Ghoulies, and all the other films that ripped off Gremlins,” features the villainous Mr. Plinkett (Rich Evans) of the Star Wars reviews as the owner of a hardware store that also has a side gig killing hookers. His employees have begun to suspect something is the matter, particularly after he destroys the security tape from Monday night. Refusing to bow down to any of their demands for answers, he instead unleashes an army of little rubber monsters he’d been keeping locked up in the store’s basement. The monsters, well-trained little scamps that they are, immediately begin hunting down all the store’s customers and eating them, which any retail employee can agree is only a good thing.

The main thing one notices about the movie is that it’s so damn funny. Much like Gremlins 2, it focuses on the comedy first and the blood second (though frequently both at once), which anyone who’s seen their videos on Youtube can agree was a good choice. I would compare the film to the works of Broken Lizard, except this is a great deal more successful than their horror comedy Club Dread. It’s the sort of film where girls find they are in serious need of some caulk, where hardware employees need to wear Hazmat gear when cleaning “tomato sauce” off of the floor, because it’s probably contaminated with AIDS, and where a middle aged Russian woman goes off to fist herself in celebration at her husband being eaten.

The movie moves along at a pretty fast clip, too. It makes the mistake of letting its only weak scene open the film (when Plinkett has his fun with a prostitute, who lets him know she charges extra for the handicapped), but once the rest of the cast arrives it doesn’t stop zipping along until the end credits. Which is not to say that everything’s rushed, mind you; there are, after all, a few scenes where characters just stare at each other in uncomfortable silence just to sell a joke. There’s simply no part in which the film stops being interesting, which is generally something of a rarity for a zero-budget horror movie (So Mort It Be is the only thing close out of the thirty-some movies I’ve so far seen in the Tomb of Terrors collection, and even it drags a bit at times), even one that’s mainly a comedy.

This holiday season, horror fans should be happy to find a movie this entertaining showing up. The past month has seen several quality horror titles getting DVD releases, and while the bigger theatrical releases like The Wolfman, The Crazies, and A Nightmare on Elm Street may not have been all that good, at least the less famous titles this year seem to have largely kicked ass. I can’t recommend strongly enough that you order yourself a copy of this.

Rating: *** ½

P.S. While Amazon does not have the film available for purchase, you can order yourself a copy here.

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