The thought of starvation conjures images of both internet and television commercials of third world countries needing pennies to survive or sub-plots in zombie apocalypse storylines; however, it is a hidden fear of many people, especially parents, of their children going to bed with growling tummies. It is those situations that the basic needs turn violently on their morals, sensibilities and finally on each other, many think of a plot surrounding cannibalism, and while the taboo subject plays blip on the screen it is not the overall conceptual design of director Gruff Furst’s film. Furst, known for making a staple design of cookie-cutter productions many of films air on the SyFy channel, most recently Arachnoquake (2012), but this journeyman has spread entertainment value across 31 horror films in some manner or another. In this movie, distributed from MTI Video, has an unknown screenwriter, Xander Wolf, the plot centers around an urban legend, of feral children surviving in creative manners, but the story swerves off course early loses itself in horror clichés used to terrorize the travelers in the story.
As the story opens of Jiminey (Dave Davis), Beck (Bobby Campo) and his girlfriend Candace (Mariah Bonner) (need to have the romance element mixed into the plot early to drawn on the sympathy heart-strings later), seek out the truth and backstory on survival in sinkholes and those left behind from the impact of the this growing phenomenon. On the road trip one learns that Beck hopes to create a graphic novel of these feral children and then into a multi-million movie, however, quickly Candace, references The Hills Have Eyes plot and his is a rip off. Although, it first appears as an urban legend the story does contain a bit of truth, the film sets in the Freedom, Florida area, and in 1981, people swallowed into massive sinkholes in surrounding counties. As previously mentioned, other stereotypical clichés perk up early in the movie, with a collection of too coincidental situations occurring such as a large rock toss drop onto a car’s windshield from an overpass, or the remote gas station and kooky owners. The low-budget productions has the trio venturing off the beaten path, looking for a bathroom, and discovering abandoned houses that the cannibal children use, and leaving their keys in the car only to have it stolen. Soon enough each one is captured and held in an abandoned school to play out a series of survival hunger games, win the battle by killing your opponent and you get a moderately small meal. The rising hunger causes the individuals to do more drastic and uncharacteristic survival antics all while watched by the notorious madman and pet Igor on awful security camera setup. Furst delivers on scene, which might turn the stomachs of both horror fans and pregnant mothers, without committing any spoilers, how sanitary does your food requirements need in the moment of starvation, when you are carrying your lovers seed. Campo, who some may recall from the Scream: The TV Series creates some very believable chemistry with Bonner, who’s first horror film in the genre was a Furst production called, Masker Maker (2011), which both actors understanding the outlines and style needed for a horror flick.
Starve, unfortunately runs into an endless series of killing battles with results of live wounded or die, and then feed, this sadly extends to a mind numbing logic, the audience also needs to feed, with entertainment, suspense and jump scares, it all comes along in dribs and drabs. The pacing works, but the scenes from the script foreshadow too early what horrors await the characters, ruining what had the possibility of a quality scare fest. The movie feels more as a cross between the horror movie Hunger (2009) which contain isolationism, limit food, water resources, and serve a quality buffet and then The Hunger Games themselves. As for the production, quality fits well too, with nice set design to mirror truly derelict buildings, graining images and some stylish points for violence and stomach churning.
Furst’s film serves the intended purpose of entertainment, a tad mindless, yet offers a hint to a sequel and why not, it is another requirement in horror films, as many know “The End” means ‘The Evil Never Dies’ and herein is no different. Nevertheless, Starve, does succeed in starving the audience from enjoyable blood splattering violence one feels needs to associate itself with the topic and more depraved human actions from those starving, as many did not fit the role well enough.