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CampBlood Gay Horror Reviews: Senseless Rants from a Picky Sissy

 

Feed Brett Leonard 2005

Stupercize Me

At the risk of sounding like Marjorie, the evil “Fat Fighters” lady from Little Britain, let me say this: few things are as disturbing as the sight of a morbidly obese woman stuffing her face with cheeseburgers. It’s not just that it’s unsightly (not that a skinny woman choking on cow would be any more attractive, really) – there’s a deeply unsettling fatalism that accompanies an image of someone knowingly driving herself to destruction. And it’s not just food – most of us wince at the sight of an alcoholic drinking himself into a stupor (unless it’s Nicolas Cage, in which case it’s cause for celebration) or a teenage girl cutting herself or making herself vomit after a meal. Remember that great scene in Dead Again when Kenneth Branagh visits Andy Garcia in the hospital and Garcia smokes through the hole from his laryngectomy and it puts Branagh of cigarettes for good? That’s what a movie like Feed should justifiably do for fast food – but in the end Feed is as much about obesity as The Fisher King is about angling royalty.

Feed tells the bizarre story of a man named Michael (Alex O’Loughlin) who gets off on feeding women to the point where they die. Naturally, this stems from Mommy issues (Michael’s Mom was bedridden from obesity and he had to wait on her hand and foot) – Michael is getting back at his mother by enslaving and cruelly murdering these women with food, and passing it off as some kind of love. What’s worse, he’s streaming the progress of the “gaining” (the girls have an ideal weight that they want to reach) on the Internet, offers up-to-date vitals for them, and takes bets as to when the girls will finally suffocate under the weight of their own fatness.

Not pleasant to watch, even less pleasant to write about – considering how bitchy I normally am it’s taking a concerted effort on my part to not buy into the undercurrent of hatred that this film has for fat people. It’s a tough call, really – yes, the skinny beautiful people have corned the public market on instant desirability, and anyone else is raised to believe that they’re basically garbage, leading to all sorts of complications later on that Merck and Pfeizer are all too happy to help you with. But while I’d love to cheer for people who break out of the dominant paradigm by trying something new, you really can’t argue that becoming hundreds of pounds overweight is a good thing, from a health perspective – that’s like shoving two briskets up your nose to spite your face. So when it comes to catastrophic weight gain as an expression of love or individuality, the answer is: no, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Fatty.

Anyway, enter our “hero”, Phillip (Patrick Thompson), an Australian cop specializing in cybercrime who is apparently in high international demand in cases involving people eating weird shit – case in point, an early raid scene where Phillip busts two German men who are apparently eating each other in the privacy of a well-appointed Teutonic bathroom. The scene is pretty ridiculous, from the regrettable “blue filter” placed over everything (apparently the sun in Germany has a higher color temperature) to the fact that upon entering the house Phillip finds various sweetmeats, including a juicy phallus, sizzling in non-stick cookware on the kitchen stove. Now, any cannibal worth his salt knows not to leave genitals to sauté unattended! I would think that a gay cannibal would be doubly finicky. This scene is obviously based on the tale of gay German cannibal Armin Meiwes, who found a willing victim on the Internets and shared the mans’ penis with him before the man died (Meiwes sautéed the member with salt, pepper, and garlic after finding it “too tough” to eat when raw). Although in real life Meiwes wasn’t caught on scene – he actually continued eating his victim for several weeks, eventually ingesting up to twenty pounds of him.

But that’s beside the point. Phillip returns from this capture to his ridiculously hot Australian girlfriend, who’s a nympho and a dominatrix and a bit of a cunt, to be honest. They have piggy sex that always makes him feel bad, and he may have some rage issues that are being brought out by the fact that she slaps him around (seriously – it’s just strange). He eventually gets too rough with her (apparently – it’s hard to tell because she’s introduced as a childish, violent slut and doesn’t really settle down from there) and she leaves him, freeing him up to go to Ohio (*cough*Sydney!*cough*) to hunt down this guy who likes to feed fat girls. Phillip thinks the guy is killing them, and although the girls themselves seem to enjoy the attention and notoriety the site brings them, there may indeed be something sinister going on.

Unfortunately, the film only gets halfway to “sinister”, and tops out around “petulant”. After a brilliant opening sequence that makes irreverent use of the classic song “Cherish” – which actually might be worth renting the film just to see – the film devolves into a cheap Seven wannabe that gets so far off track that it becomes more entertaining to watch the actors try and save the film from complete meltdown than it is to pay attention to the film itself. By spending too much time wallowing in rather mundane ugliness (abusive relationships, police bureaucracy, the Internet) rather than really digging into the issue at hand, Feed quickly devolves into your standard “good cop is dragged into the muck when proximity to evil awakens his own latent nastiness” bullshit – instead of Cruising, we have Gorging.

My biggest problem here is the fact that we’re talking about a story with no discernible victim, as the film presents it. Michael’s latest girl, Deidre (Gabby Milgate, whom we all know as the fabulously droll younger sister from Muriel’s Wedding) seems to genuinely enjoy being bedridden, fed, worshipped, and kept by Michael, who’s cute enough and generally attentive and likes to get naked a lot (the buns on his burger ain’t too shabby either). She’s also completely devoid of a personality, past, or character – she’s defined solely by her fatness (and the fatsuit is actually pretty impressive, considering that Deidre tops 600 pounds in the end). Instead of getting into the real psychological nitty-gritty involved in this kind of relationship (which would be absolutely fascinating), we get some lame flashbacks of Michael’s mom to conveniently explain his hangup, but zero for Deidre. The film’s focus on the bitchy cat-and-mouse between Michael and Phillip is horribly miscalculated, as that’s essentially the stuff of every direct-to-video thriller starring Antonio Sabato Jr. of the last 20 years, while doing a deep-dive into the fat folds would have been totally unique.

Warning: Spoiler Paragraph
There’s also something very wrong with the way that things get wrapped up – they were obviously aiming for a mindfuck but with Deidre presented as nothing but a shrewish Trash Heap in enormous underwear, it has no impact whatsoever. When Phillip finally finds the house where Michael is keeping Deidre and finds the remains of his last victim all over the place (Michael has even been feeding the last girl’s boiled fat to Deidre – not sure why, other than to gross us out), he busts in and confronts Michael in Deidre’s room. Deidre is so pissed at him for interrupting them and being mean to Michael that she just whines and screams for about 10 minutes, at which point Phillip gets fed up and shoots her in the head. Okay. So we’ve just sat through 75 minutes of this man trying to save this woman, and once he finds her he puts a bullet in her. Great. So either Phillip hates women so badly that he was willing to travel to Toledo to shoot one, or he hates fat people so badly that he did the same, or the screenwriter really wanted to turn Phillip into a psycho and couldn’t think of a better way to do it. The movie ends with Phillip keeping an emaciated Michael hostage in Deidre’s fly-infested room (with her bloated corpse still in it, I imagine), begging him to feed him. Clever turnaround? Only on the surface. Again, Deidre wanted to be fed, but Michael is being starved against his will – it’s really not a fair comparison.

Anyway, Feed threatens to raise some interesting questions, but mostly it’s just another story about a guy who hates women (fat women, in particular) and kills his way into his own master-slave relationship. If you’ve seen the girl in the hole putting lotion on her skin, you’ve seen these themes played out in a far more interesting and well-executed fashion, albeit with fewer cupcakes and greasy burgers. But really, if you’re out for something that will put you off eating, rent Super Size Me instead – Feed is just too silly and dull to curb your appetite.

Rating (out of 5):