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Feeders 2: Slay Bells

There are very few films that make one yell, "Holy shit, that was terrible!" out loud after seeing it. This one, however, does indeed belong to that rarified category.

This film serves to illustrate just why it is absurd to go flagrantly labeling films the "worst ever" in a haphazard, willy-nilly fashion. I had previously bestowed that honor, with few reservations, upon the original Feeders. And yet, I must now admit that I was a bit too hasty in so doing, for the lesson to be learned here is that, no matter how much you may have bloodied your fingers scraping the bottom of the barrel, the simple fact is that you can always just tip the barrel over and probe about in the muck underneath. There is always a lower depth to which you can sink, but this film really challenges that notion within an inch of its life.

As you may have guessed, this is ostensibly a sequel to Feeders, which would seem apparent enough. What isn't apparent at first is the fact that it pays the end of the first film, which closed with our hero Jon McBride cowering in the street as hordes of offscreen aliens blew the earth to ruins through the miraculous power of stock footage, precious little attention. McBride resurfaces in the opening scenes as a haggard, desheveled nutcase conducting an interview from the confines of a...jail? Looney bin? Local elementary school? Who's to say? Anyway, he's rambling about those nasty aliens, who have apparently not been noticed by anyone else despite their having blown a lot of shit up at the end of the first movie. After this, we get confused as John Polonia shows up again, despite being hacked apart at what I, in a spot of good charity, will call a climax of Feeders the first. Actually, it's his twin brother Mark, but it's not like we can tell, since he's, as previously mentioned, a twin, and has the same exact glasses and facial hair. As the filmmakers seemed to assume that anyone would remember the name of the character John Polonia played last time out, they settled for giving this character a different name this time, the absolute only piece of info we're given in order to realize that this is supposed to be a completely different guy. Hell, he at least could've shaved his stupid mustache or lost the glasses. But no, he's the same old John Polonia, even if he technically isn't, and the fact that we see flashbacks of him from the original doesn't help at all.

So what makes this film so much worse? Good Lord, where does one start? Well, here's as good a place as any: the aliens-and I boldly assert this as indisputable fact in total disregard for how completely impossible it might seem at the outset-look worse than in the first film. I will even go out on a limb and say that they look much worse; at least a good three times worse. It appears as though they still possessed one of the two alien puppets from the previous outing, though it also appears that it had been carelessly stored in Bob's House of Rats for the duration. This does not stop it from being far and away superior to the new puppets, which look to be styrofoam balls stuck atop cardboard tubes which sport coat hanger wire for limbs. The frequent-one might say endless-lingering closeups of these kindergarten-quality constructs does nothing to conceal their makers' obvious deficiencies in the art of prop design. They do appear to have mouths this time, though they can only open them when cutting to the larger-scale closup mouth model, which is shot so tightly as to reveal the still-present strands of dried hot glue dangling from between the teeth. They break into Polonia's basement and hang about for days as Christmas approaches. No one seems to ever hear them, despite the fact that every time they're on screen they're loudly projecting a noise like an asthmatic elephant attempting to Hoover up a giant oil drum full of quicksand and angry bees. So what else do the aliens do? Well, they get into the house of a friend of Polonia's wife (played by the same woman from Feeders who got eaten in her basement, and who at least changed her hair) and stalk her cat. The woman must go down to her own basement to find out why kitty-cat went all spazzy, and even though there has as of yet been no sign of extraterrestrial mischief, she feels the need to descend the steps at a rate of about one per week just to drag the film out in a thoroughly unnecessary manner. Eventually she finds that the aliens have transformed her cat into what seems to be a wadded-up piece of paper with a cat drawn on it, and is then eaten herself, a slightly unfortunate happenstance in that she's one of the better actors.

Not "good," mind you, just "better."

Somewhere else, there's this church, which for some reason is Photoshoped onto a new background which is at a conspicuously incorrect angle. Why, I have no idea, unless the actual view behind the building revealed some distressingly un-Christmaslike scenery, like a giant "God Sucks" billboard or some such thing. The inside of the church looks quite remarkably like a house, and the priest residing within takes a few hundred trips to his basement (okay, only two or three) before finally being eaten. No one else ever sees, talks to, or even mentions this priest, however, so no big loss, apparently. Subsequent to this, shit stops happening for a nearly interminable stretch. We get Mark Polonia at work, being yelled at by his asshole boss. (Feeder fodder, right? The Scrooge type who gets eaten as an example of poetic justice? Nope. We never see him again.) We get to see his kids goofing about and playing in cardboard boxes. We get all this superfluous crap that features no maulings, dismemberments, or even threats of harm. In short, we realize to our horror that the filmmakers actually were functioning under the assumption that the audience would care about these people and their lives, which, let's face it, we don't. At all.

After this, Santa Claus shows up and gets attacked in mid-air by the aliens. Yes, that's actually what happens, and no, I'm not making fun of you or trying to pull a prank.

At this juncture, Jon McBride shows up again and begins to narrate to his ever-unseen interviewer a lengthy-a very lengthy-flashback to Feeders part one. At the risk of typing a non-critical sentence within this here review, I must say that Jon McBride's acting here doesn't suck. This is the one bit that actually comes close to feeling like an actual horror film. It's absolutely ruined in tone by the fact that it comes immediately after seeing Santa Claus pulling plastic aliens out of his beard, however, and one really has to stop and wonder just what schizo mindset the filmmakers were in when putting this little opus together, or, if one is less inclined towards endless self-abuse, to just plain stop the tape and hurl it away like a virulent discus. If one happens to be watching this on DVD, this becomes an even more obvious option, and barring the presence of expensive and/or breakable furnishings in your immediate vicinity, one which you've no good cause to pass up.

Yes, Santa Claus, who sounds almost exactly like Barney Gumble from The Simpsons, shows up to save humanity, or at least one household, from "those pesky aliens." A little zapping with a plastic toy ray gun sends the betoothed lumps of garbage into the great beyond, a sequence notable for its use of the Polonia trademark technique of freeze-framing shots instead of just holding the damn camera still, an approach which can be seen throughout both films at what seem to be utterly random points. After this, there's a twist ending involving a present being opened Christmas morning, but I'm not going to tell you what's in the box. It would just spoil the surprise, which you will otherwise never, ever guess.

Oh, also, there were no fart jokes in the first Feeders. Big plus.

In short-oooh, that was a big, whopping lie; excuse me-in long, Feeders 2 is as close to unwatchable as I can realistically imagine a film being. When the most believable acting in a pic comes from the pre-eight-year-old portion of the cast, you've got problems. The structure is nonsensical, the monsters are laughable, and where the first film had some admittedly cheesmo gore effects, this one doesn't seem to even bother trying. Watching this film is likely to leave us all feeling like the wife (who is, I get the feeling, Mark Polonia's actual wife), who utters her every line as if she dearly wishes her husband would just get a different hobby. Can I get a "So say we all?"

-review by Matt Murray

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