FANTASTIC FEST 2010
By Dave Campbell | October 11, 2010
Director: Josh Reed
Writer: Nigel Christensen, Josh Reed
Starring: Krew Boylan, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith, Wil Traval, Lindsay Farriss, Rebekah Ford, Damien Freeleagus
Primal begins as we travel back 12000 years to witness an Aboriginal man who is painting a warning next to the mouth of a cave, just as he is slaughtered by the very subject of his work. Fast-forward to present day as we follow six friends, Dace (Wil Traval) the anthropology student, Kris (Rebekah Ford) the assistant, Mel (Krew Boylan) the blonde party girl, Chad (Lindsay Ferris) Mel’s introverted jealous boyfriend, Warren (Damien Freeleagus) the “funny guy”, and Anya (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) the claustrophobic chick with man issues, who have set out into the remote reaches of the wild Australian outback on a journey to study an ancient Aboriginal rock painting thousands of year old.
The camp out excitement switches gears when Mel becomes ill after skinny dipping in a stagnant pond filled with leaches. Scared, bleeding and delirious with fever, Mel’s condition rapidly deteriorates. Mel’s friends soon realize that she is becoming something else as she sprouts viciously pointed teeth and goes completely mental into a predatory state. Mel attempts to attack each of her friends as she develops into a rage filled beast threatening their lives.
The friends now have to band together and make the decision to kill or be killed in order to survive…just as they are faced with the possibility of the same horrific transition. Their only hope is to escape through the very cave that brought them to this cursed side of the mountain, and Anja discovers too late that the ancient rock painting that brought them there was a warning of something unimaginable.
Directed by Josh Reed, Primal exhibits an uncanny likeness that is uncomfortably similar to Cabin Fever. Not only that, but the cliché wagon was on hand at every turn as Primal flat-out lifted from other horror films of this formula. Character depth and chemistry are pretty much non-existent, so we are left to assume that these friends are as close as they reference. It’s not that the actors are lacking in ability, because their potential tends to seep through the gaping holes in the plot.
For über fans of B-grade horror and gore, Primal fits the bill by providing a quick paced romp of creature horror. Though Primal possesses the elements to define it as a horror movie, it lacks the script to make anything other than the gore memorable. With the bat-shit crazy things that happen in Primal, a little explanation into what the hell is going on would have helped the movie tremendously…that and the removal of the hideous attempt to create a creature with sub, sub-par CG effects.
Picked as part of the IFC Midnight on demand series, don’t expect Primal to be anything more than a rated R version of a SyFy original.