Foremost, I think anyone intending to watch this true-to-life film should be warned of two important points before sitting down to dimmed lights and a cup of coffee. Firstly, I would strongly recommend leaving the popcorn un-popped - there are scenes towards the end of this film that will leave some of you with a more squeamish nature literally gagging (you have been warned...). Secondly, for those of you of a religious inclination, there are one or two scenes within the film that you might find offensive (there is a scene, for example, where Michael (the "feeder") portrayed as the "saviour" to many of the "gainers" he feeds, is juxtaposed with the Eucharest from Holy Communion).
Briefly, "...'Feed' is a heavy-weight thrill-ride through the depths of depravity. A veteran of cyberporn investigations, Australian cop Philip Jackson is no stranger to the dangerous side of sexual fetishes. He may have found his sickest case yet when he discovers a sinister side to an American website devoted to fat-admiring men and obese women called "feeders" and "gainers". Could the man behind it all be force-feeding missing women to death?"
I will address the good points about this film before I get to the brilliant points. Firstly, what is notable about the film is it's clever use of colour. Given the low-budget nature of the film, the use of lighting takes the place of the use of special effects in so-called "bigger films". Not only does the lighting serve to differentiate geographical locations (scenes set in Germany, for example, are largely in blue, whereas the USA is represeneted by yellow)but it also reminds us of the conflicting ("love/hate") relationship the "gainer" has with food. Secondly, the nature of the "horror" in this film is very unique - all praise (and five stars) to the director, not only for picking an original subject, but also for moving away from the traditional slasher/stalker movie of the 90's. What makes this film so different is that the victim doesn't actually realise that they ARE the victim. Even in the final scenes when Philip is trying to explain to Deidre that Michael is trying to kill her, she sides with Michael - forcing Philip to shoot her dead. Praise must also be given to a well-chosen soundtrack - look out for the inclusion of "Tainted Love", a song that seems to encapsulate the true nature of the film. Finally, I must also mention the very final scene of the film. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it yet but even though, as a hardcore horror fan, I saw the ending coming a mile-off, it still left me with a haunted feeling long-after the credits began to roll.
What makes the film truly brilliant, however, is not the acting or the story itself, but the moral questions it raises. There is no black or white in this story, only grey: to what extent are Michael and his fellow "feeders" helping to give people freedom of choice (quote: "I want to be eaten")? Is Michael really a sociopath given that he is not embarking upon any "anti-social behaviour" per se, or is it Philip who fits the bill given that he breaks into Michael's home? Isn't Michael just trying to restore a sense of "true beauty" by re-iterating the sense of femininity that has been lost through the pressures of fashion? Whose "abuse" is worse - Michael's, for feeding his women, or Philip's for beating his? Is Michael REALLY leading his women to the slaughter (in much the same way as a snuff movie) or would the women have become overweight anyway? Although it's a crime to starve someone, is it really a crime to feed them? Who is the "master" in this scenario - is it really the "feeder" because his ability to control leads to a sense of sub-dominate dependency or is it the "gainer" who dictates the daily routine of the pair? Whose "love affair" lasts the longest - that of Michael and Deidre or that of Philip and Abbey? All of the aforementioned questions are raised in the film, though few are answered - leading us to a sense of thoughtfulness that modern horror rarely does.
For those of you who prefer to let the story-line flow and not over-analyse everything - don't worry, there is enough here to keep you happy. The little touches in themselves would give even the most serious heart a chuckle. I can't finish this review without mentioning by far the funniest and tongue-in-cheek moment in the film... watch out for Michael dancing to "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie..." on the end of Deidre's bed and tell me you didn't laugh out loud at the out and out irony ;)