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Monday, November 14, 2022 | Reviews


Starring Christopher Mulvin, Neal Ward, Hannah Al Rashid, and Samantha Loxley
Written and Directed by Adam Leader and Richard Oakes
XYZ Films

Following the death of his wife, suicidal widower Jed (Christopher Mulvin) stumbles across an unconventional way of ending his own life. Meeting the eccentric Lionel Flack (Neal Ward), Jed is presented with a unique proposition – a mutually beneficial agreement in which Lionel will kill Jed, saving him the effort of suicide. The twist? Lionel intends to eat Jed, piece by juicy piece, and keeping his supper alive as he lops the bits off for consumption. But will Jed change his mind once Jed starts carving him up like a prize turkey? With a binding contract sealing the deal, it’s unlikely that Lionel will let his dinner just back out at the last minute. Not that he’ll have enough legs left to do so, by then…

This black comedy horror film by Adam Leader and Richard Oakes (HOSTS) focuses on another dinner party, this time claiming to be based on reality. Sure enough there, are echoes of 2001’s German cannibal case (which also involved a spot of consensual cannibalism), but FEED ME is very much a work of demented fiction. Anyone buying into the film’s ‘true story’ gag is unlikely to remain fooled once characters are introduced and the story begins to unfold. Specifically, Lionel.

Boasting a bizarre hairdo, wandering American drawl, and wardrobe full of garish Hawaiian shirts, Lionel is initially a hard presence to take seriously – more Ted Lasso than Ted Bundy. Bear with it though, and all will become clear. Meanwhile, FEED ME impresses with its dedication to the gross and the grotesque. As Jed becomes ensconced in Lionel’s home, Leader and Oakes fill the film with gore and splatter, building the grisliest house of horrors outside of a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. The limitations of the low budget certainly don’t extend to the grand Guignol, which should do plenty to satisfy gorehounds.

Those seeking a sense of plausibility may find themselves wanting more from the characters and their behaviour. A subplot in which Lionel finds love (or at least a date) in Hannah Al Rashid’s Alex is interesting, but Lionel is presented as so weird that it’s hard to imagine anyone taking a romantic interest in the man. Likewise, Jed’s depression is sympathetically portrayed, but it’s hard to believe that creepy Lionel would ever feel like a viable solution. Story beats such as a police visit and a downriver daytrip continue to stretch believability.

This is a more conventional piece than the directors’ HOSTS, lacking much of that film’s inventiveness. However, FEED ME is better paced and impressively shot, featuring some truly grimy cinematography from Oakes.

Regardless of any storytelling hiccups, the core interplay between Jed and Lionel is undeniably hypnotic, and the characters are well performed by both Mulvin and Ward. The pair’s unusual chemistry sees the film through its sillier moments, and lends some pathos to the scenes of intense gore and body horror which follow. Its combination of extreme violence and high camp may be a curious mix, but FEED ME is so overstuffed that it’s unlikely to leave anyone hungry for more.


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