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NIGHT FEEDERS--Good Ol' Boys In A Heap of Trouble!

  • Jun 30, 2009

Most film critics will tell you that a martial arts film rises or falls solely on the strength of the fight scenes and the ability of the fighters in them. Likewise there are those who will swear that horror movies depend solely upon the believability of the monsters and the special effects, and whether or not they look convincing usually comes down to one factor-- how much money was spent upon them. Then there are those of us who, while we can't help but agree with the statement regarding martial arts films, still plant out flat little feet firmly on the ground and shout into the wind of prevailing thought, "NO! Sometimes you can have a really great little horror movie with MEDIOCRE SPECIAL EFFECTS!"

Well, the time has come for me to retract that statement. Having viewed NIGHT FEEDERS, a film made in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, with local effects talent that redefines the term "amateurish" and a budget that brings new meaning to the words "minuscule", I must now say that, "Sometimes you can have a really GREAT little horror film with PATHETIC special effects." Yep. All you need are some capable actors, a nifty story, and a director who can pull things together in an unusual manner and still make them work. That's a pretty tall order, but that's exactly what Writer & Director Jet Eller has managed to do in NIGHT FEEDERS.

The first thing that Eller does is realize that what his audience wants is action. So almost from the word "Go" that's what he gives us. We're introduced to our characters in only the sketchiest of terms. In fact a meteor has crashed AND two deaths have already occurred before we even meet out main protagonists; John the Smart Guy, Andy the Young Studly Guy, Doug who has Victim written all over him, and Donnie the Redneck Slob who also seems doomed to become an alien entree. Other possible hero/victims are a young couple (he's abusive and doesn't like her stinky perfume so she winds up clocking him with a piece of wood), and a game warden named Marty who's out looking for farmer Clyde and Helen's two cows.

It's John, Andy, Doug, and Donnie who are the primary focus of the film though. Three of them are city boys, and Donnie's the only one who really seems to know which end of a gun the shot comes out of.  Nonetheless they're out hunting. The only thing they've bagged by the time they make camp is the deer they hit with John's mother's car. It isn't long, and I really mean IT ISN'T LONG, before they're under siege by alien monsters whose only weakness (other than Southern Bar-B-Cue) seems to be photophobia. John concludes that the "meteor" sample he's been pondering really resembles an eggshell more than anything else, and everyone else concludes that they really want to be inside the farmhouse they passed a few miles down the road.

To say anymore would be to ruin the film, but trust me, this is literally just the beginning of an unusually enjoyable redneck romp that breaks a few of the cardinal rules of horror flix, especially in regard to structure and pacing, but still manages to come out a winner. Why? Because it really makes you care about all of these characters, and one in particular. It constantly does unexpected things, like reintroducing characters you've completely forgotten about and having them become crucial to the plot. And just when you think it's going to pull a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on you, it doesn't. It avoids most of the cliches that other films fall into with such graceful sidesteps that you hardly notice. But as I said before, in the end this film owes much of its success to the characters and the actors who portray them. Their good ol' boy, down-home likability makes a big difference in our caring about whether or not they live or die at the the hands (and teeth) of these very crudely animated CGI creatures. The gore is somewhat limited but actually very effectively presented.

It's funny too.

HYPE Level: I'm all the hype this flick has received!

Written & Directed by Jet Eller
John--Brett Gentile
Donnie--Donnie Evans
Andy--Mike Monzitta
Doug--Michael Ruff
Warden--Chip Barrett
Farmer Clyde--Jerry Moore
Terry--Kate Leahy
NIGHT FEEDERS--Good Ol' Boys In A Heap of Trouble! NIGHT FEEDERS--Good Ol' Boys In A Heap of Trouble! NIGHT FEEDERS--Good Ol' Boys In A Heap of Trouble! NIGHT FEEDERS--Good Ol' Boys In A Heap of Trouble!

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March 31, 2011
Now this sounds like it might be very good. You know me, always looking for something different. Need to check it out. The Straw Man
April 02, 2011
You just might get a kick out of it, if you can get past the CGI. The gore effects come off pretty well, but the CGI is miserable. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did.
December 24, 2010
This is an all time classic in my mind, I actually know some people who don't like it.
December 30, 2010
Then all their taste must be in their mouths! Writer/director Jet Eller just released a new movie called DON'T FEED THE TROLL--or is it NEVER FEED THE TROLL? I'll have to check. Anyhow I'm going to buy a copy some time in January. Can't wait to see it. He says he's sure I'll like it even more than NIGHTFEEDERS.
July 15, 2009
Plants his feet (not flat) firmly and the ground and shouts out: You can have an excellent horror film without any special effects! : )
July 15, 2009
July 15, 2009
I mean the 1931 "Dracula" didn't have any real special effects, neither did "Rosemary's Baby", or "Halloween". Hell, I can think of a whole slew of horror films that didn't have any special effects and even a few great ones in which you don't even see any blood or anyone being killed off (and that's rare even by 1930s standards of horror).
July 15, 2009
I come from the generation of monster suits with zippers and basketball planets hanging from wires--I could care less about special effects but it would take too much effort.
July 15, 2009
Yeah, I know what you mean. For me the special effects are certainly helpful in taking a story more seriously, but they are so often used gratuitously when there's little else that the film has to offer. This is certainly this case when you compare old sci-fi with new sci-fi, though some films do have both a good story and good special effects, but it's rare. However, in fantasy films I think that the film is aided more by special effects than the sci-fi film, and that's mainly because sci-fi is more cerebral and more intellectual while fantasy requires a certain suspension of disbelief in order to have the desired emotional impact. In sci-fi, and horror as well, the implication of the monster can be just as powerful as the actual appearance of the monster.
July 15, 2009
Fantasy really does need it more than either science fiction or horror in my book, but then it depends on what kind of fantasy or science fiction you're talking about. GATTACA didn't need anything. I think what really needs the effects is your space opera like STAR WARS or STAR TREK.
July 15, 2009
True, but Space Opera is really science fiction. It has all the superficial tech stuff, but not really the same intents. Ultimately Space Opera is fantasy with some sci-fi flourishes. But it's all good, well, maybe not all.
July 15, 2009
Yeah, its a subgenre that depends on gadgetry and may frequently lack substance. (That's the Shaub definition.)
July 15, 2009
Pretty much fits, although in the case of both Star Wars and Star Trek that's not always true. There are some philosophical and moral messages, though usually underdeveloped.
July 15, 2009
I qualified it because I knew you'd call me on it. Note the modifier "may frequently".
July 15, 2009
By the way, since your handing out definitions, you should do a "Movie World According to Shaub" blog or something where you define genres and satirically tear films apart. Kind of a modern version of Ambrose Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary" but for films. : )
July 15, 2009
I don't really have that many--just a few to help differentiate between my favorite genres.
July 15, 2009
Good review and an interesting film. I guess I"m just weird. I go for story line and scares rather than special effects, blood, gore or sex. I enjoyed this little beauty.
July 15, 2009
Yeah its a great flick with some nice little surprises. Especially in the hero department. I blasted the CGI because so many people go into a film and fixate on the special effects. So I figured that if they were told in advance maybe they could calm down and just enjoy the story and all the other cool stuff. Apart from the CGI, the other effects are pretty good.
June 30, 2009
Terrific review, Karen! You got me in your opening paragraph. Did you know that this title is scheduled to be RE-RELEASED on dvd sometime between September and October? whoo-hoo! Another one I have to buy on dvd.

here's a data point photo for yah!
June 30, 2009
Really? I wonder why. Maybe they're going to add some special feature on to it. I wonder if Jet Eller knows anything about this. I just added his as a friend on Facebook and he mentioned that he might be working on a new film soon! He didn't mention anything new about this film however.
July 01, 2009
I think they may be re-mastering it in HD anamorphic widescreen and adding a second disc for the features. At least that's what I heard, perhaps it's the studio that's doing it.
July 01, 2009
Cool! I think it really deserves that kind of treatment. I haven't been over on Facebook yet today to ask him if he knows anything about it. You'd think he'd have heard though if they're adding a second disc for features because that usually involves some sort of participation from the film's creators.
July 01, 2009
yes, please do! a friend of mine gave me the info and you know how news of these things play out sometimes. Jet Eller would be the person to ask...I dunno, but I really love an anamorphic widescreen treatment...

oh, Night of the Creeps is definitely been verified for a late Sept.-mid October release!
July 01, 2009
I know! That one has me really excited because my vhs copy is starting to show its age. Have you heard whether its a bare bones copy or not? I just left Jet a note and we'll see what happens. I've got everything crossed including my eyes on this one.
July 01, 2009
apparently there is already a dvd but not in widescreen-- check it out:

July 01, 2009
I tried to and it didn't work. I asked Jet about it and he really didn't know. He said that originally he had sent a blooper reel and some other stuff along with the film and they could possibly have used that. I just went over to amazon and I only saw the old dvd release.
July 05, 2009
I'll ask my bud to send me a link to the blog...
July 05, 2009
June 30, 2009
I thought I posted this review some time ago, but when I looked for it--nothing. Not even the data point. So here we go again!
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About the reviewer
karen ()
Ranked #17
I am the poster child for inertia. Where ever I am is where I plan to stay FOREVER.   So much so in fact that it took me decades to understand the punchline about why   the chicken … more
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