Lee Haven’s Welsh fantasy drama, The Feast, depicts an affluent family on a lavish estate in the Welsh mountains. The family throws a small feast, inviting a crafty businessman and a struggling farmer to facilitate a deal between them. The film, filled with mythological metaphors, thematically explores human greed. To acquire wealth, the family exploits Nature. But Nature has its own means of penalizing miscreants. For a significant portion of the narrative, it’s hard to understand the motivation of an eerie house helper, Cadi. However, as the film reaches its end, the loose ends are duly explained. Let’s explore the message and metaphors in “The Feast.”
‘The Feast’ Plot Summary
A family of four lives in a sumptuous house in the Welsh mountains. The father, Gwyn, a member of the London parliament, built the estate as a farmhouse. Gwyn’s wife, Glenda, is related to these lands and has inherited a lot of property from her parents, which Gwyn has sold to a mining company. They live on the estate with their two sons, Gweirydd and Guto. Gweirydd is a professional doctor but has decided to take a break from medicine to prepare for a triathlon. While Guto is a young lad who has been confined to the estate so that he can recover from his “needle” addiction.
Glenda and Gwyn invite two friends, Euros, a businessman, and Mair, a farmer, for a small feast at their house on a usual evening. Glenda’s regular helper, Lynwen, wasn’t accessible for the day because of her father’s illness. Hence she sends a replacement, Cadi, to assist Glenda for the evening.
But Cadi doesn’t come alone. With her, she brings an air of eeriness that soon captures the house. While the family and its guests are unaware of the ghostliness around them, the viewers are made aware of the strange horrors that await.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Why did the family invite Euros and Mair?
Glenda belonged to the community (on which the estate was built) and inherited 300 acres of land from her parents. The family friend, Euros, helped small businesses find ways to make money with their assets. Glenda sold a portion of the land to Euros, whose consortium used the land for mining work. Glenda and Gwyn built the estate with the help of finances they garnered from the association. In simple terms, they obtained wealth by exploiting and selling natural resources that didn’t belong to them.
According to Euros, the drill went deeper than usual during a mining exploration and unraveled a cave in the area. This site was 30 meters from the border between Glenda’s land and Mair’s farm. Euros believed that the veins of these caves run through Mair’s land and thus wanted to crack a deal with her to drill it. But Mair was skeptical.
The sight was called “the Rise.” According to Mair, it was cursed. The legends emphasize that an entity slept in those caves and should not be disturbed. As soon as Mair discovered that Euros wanted to dig the Rise, she quickly left the estate, breaking all possibilities of the deal. Little did Mair know that Euros and his company had already drilled the Rise and awakened the cursed entity.
What was the Pattern of Killing?
The first sequence of the film depicted a drill digging deep into “the Rise”. The loud drilling machines destroyed the caves that harbored the mythological entity. The stance awakened the curse, and soon the drilling worker experienced blood pouring out of his ears.
The curse punished people in a similar way to how they destroyed Nature. For example, the worker experienced a high-frequency sound identical to the loudness experienced by the Earth (land) when drilling machines drilled into it. Gwyn constantly heard these high frequencies throughout the film because he brought those loud machines to these peaceful mountains. To take revenge, Cadi, or the curse, shoved a small piece of pointed steel into Gwyn’s ear to kill him, just like he was shoving the drill machines into the Earth.
The curse killed other people based on their karmic debt. In an intimate encounter, Gweirydd, who was accused of raping his patients in the hospital, was killed by Cadi. Similarly, Guto, who chopped off the logs of trees at the beginning of the film, had his leg chopped off by Gweirydd with the same ax. From the perspective of Nature, the logs are the body parts of a tree, and though they don’t scream, they are living beings too.
Under a spell, Glenda served Guto’s leg to Euros, who feasted on it like a wild animal. Symbolically, Glenda sold her lands to Euro, who, like a greedy being, mercilessly exploited the children of mother Nature. To pay for her sins, Cadi made Glenda serve her own offspring, the property that actually belonged to her.
In the last chapter, “After you’ve taken everything, what will be left?” Cadi made Glenda shoot Euros. Glenda was haunted by the death of her family and the sins she had committed. Cadi made Glenda commit suicide.
Who was Cadi? What was the Curse?
In precise words, Cadi wasn’t a ghost but a curse. Her character was inspired by Welsh mythology (Blodeuwedd), and she represented Mother Earth herself. She attained the body of Cadi, who died in a car accident. When Mair returned to the estate for the second time, she told Glenda that they had recovered Cadi’s car from the lake. Mair pointed out that the curse needed a body to live in, and thus the curse possessed Cadi’s body.
When Cadi arrived at the estate, she had wet hair, probably caused by a fall in the lake. When she touched a white sheet, she soiled it. As she moved, she left grains of soil behind her, as if the soul of mother earth walked with her. A visual depicted Cadi was eating soil, and in another sequence, she embraced the tree’s roots. There were a plethora of visuals in the films that suggested that whatever the curse was, it belonged to Nature and was there to protect it.
The two rabbits that Gwyn found in the woods were probably a trap set by Cadi. She was highly sensitive to sound and the death of wildlife. She couldn’t stand the bodies of rabbits while Glenda insensitively skinned them. However, as the guests feasted on those rabbits, they experienced human hair sticking in their throats. These hair strands probably belonged to Cadi, and it could mean that the guests feasted on a human body rather than rabbits.
In a scene, Cadi pulled out thick hair strands from Gweirydd’s throat that almost, choked him. At that moment, Cadi saved Gweirydd’s life because she had already decided on a punishment for him. The method of punishment was outlined when Gweirydd accidentally cut himself with a razor, an action that Cadi influenced.
‘The Feast’ Ending Explained
As soon as Cadi came to the estate, she cherished the painting inside Glenda’s house. She saw her home, “the Rise,” and smiled. The curse lived near Glenda’s parents’ farm, and maybe she heard or knew them. Cadi hummed the song Glenda’s mother used to sing for her.
Growing up on a farm, Glenda aspired to have a wealthy lifestyle. And in her greed, she sold off her parents’ land, yet felt no remorse that men like Euros destroyed it. Mair observed her changed demeanor and outlined that her mother would be ashamed to see her like that. It wasn’t just Glenda’s mother, but mother nature too, that was ashamed of the actions of one species that lived on Earth. Hence, Nature came looking for revenge in the form of Cadi.
In the end, Cadi killed each member of the family and their prestigious guest, Euro. After taking her revenge, the curse returned to its resting place, i.e., the Rise, the drilling site from where the film began.
The last shot depicted Cadi, wearing blood-stained clothes, walking towards the drilling site. She looked at the sky and smiled, feeling a sense of fulfillment. But then she looked at the camera and felt grief as if humans compelled her to kill.
The Feast is a 2021 Welsh Fantasy Drama directed by Lee Haven Jones.