The Feast (2021) poster

The Feast (2021)



UK. 2021.


Director – Lee Haven Jones, Screenplay/Producer – Roger Williams, Photography – Bjørn Bratberg, Music – Samuel Sin, Production Design – Gwyn Eiddior. Production Company – S4C/Ffilm Cymru Wales/BFI/Fields Park/Mewn Cydweithrediad/Melville Media Limited.


Annes Elwy (Cadi), Nia Roberts (Glenda), Julian Lewis Jones (Gwyn), Sion Alun Davies (Gweirydd), Steffan Cennydd (Guto), Rhodri Meilir (Euros), Lisa Palfrey (Mair Bowen)


Cadi arrives at the home of Gwyn and Glenda to work as waitress for the dinner party they are holding that evening. She meets their two sons – Gweirydd, who gave up training as a doctor to enter a triathlon, and Guto, who has been brought back from London to clean out from a drug addiction. Cadi wanders through the house, saying little and connecting with each of them. The guests arrive – the businessman Euros who has been drilling on their property, and the neighbour Mair, whose property Euros is seeking to obtain rights to drill on. As the dinner begins, each of those present begins to suffer a horrible fate.

The Feast has the novelty of being a film made entirely in the Welsh language. It was a feature film debut for Lee Haven Jones, a director who had been at work in British television since the early 2010s, including directing episodes of Casualty (1986- ) and Doctor Who (2005- ), among others.

The Feast becomes a slow burn film. You are aware that something is going to happen but the film becomes a long drawn-out wait until it does. It reminds of one of the films of Osgood Perkins – The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) – who has developed a particular mastery of the slow burn film.

For almost the first half of The Feast, I was even wondering if this was a film I was going to have to write about. It follows Annes Elwy as she arrives at the house and becomes involved in preparations for the dinner party. Annes passes through the house like an innocent adrift in an alien world of upper-class privilege –touching the walls, placing her face up close to the painting on the wall, looking through the wine glasses as she sets the table, trying on Nia Roberts’ jewellery, peeping in on Sion Alun Davies as he shaves his body in the bath.

Cadi (Annes Elwy) and Glenda (Nia Roberts) in The Feast (2021)
(l to r) The mysterious waitress Cadi (Annes Elwy) and the hostess Glenda (Nia Roberts)

Amidst this, Annes Elwy’s freckled features seem immediately different to everyone around her. She gives a performance of impassive calm where she has almost no dialogue. You are drawn to the unusualness of her silence – it feels like she is something that is sitting waiting to happen, leaving you are fascinated to see what she is going to eventually do.

Things become increasingly odder and seem to be heading towards genre territory. Variously, we see Annes spits in a container of food; where she licks the blood and maggots from the wound on Steffan Cennydd’s leg; and especially where we see her (it is only implied) take a piece of broken glass from a dropped wine bottle and place it in her underwear.

All of this emerges into an extended brutal and bloody ending as it becomes apparent that we are in for a work of Folk Horror and a case of Supernatural Retribution where it would seem that [PLOT SPOILERS] the agency that resides in the woods of the ridge has inhabited the body of the waitress to exact vengeance against all present for violating a sacred ground. Everyone in the house has their peculiarities and suppressed drives turned against them – as we Annes Elwy seducing one brother and then turning him against the other; the financier (Rhodri Meilir) obsessively eating even as Nia Roberts serves up a severed human leg; and everyone eventually killed in a great bath of blood.

(Nominee for Best Cinematography at this site’s Best of 2021 Awards).

Trailer here

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