Primal – 2 out of 5
Primal, the title alone sounds like a bad hair metal band from the 80s who’s dark lyrics would probably conflict with their brightly colored spandex outfits, maximum teased hair and high-pitched lead vocals. Instead, Primal is an Australian horror film that can’t quite figure out where within the genre of horror it wants to land in.
The story is about a couple friends heading out to camp in the wilds of the Australian outback (the Down Under equivalent of using an “Uncle’s cabin in the unnecessarily and frighteningly isolated, extra dark woods where light seems incapable of escaping and mist always hangs around”—strange when you consider that within the movie universe a realtor showed this property to someone and their first reaction is, “I’ll take it!!!”). The opening of the film shows us there is something wrong with this particular area as a native is murder by a shadowy figure. Not a bad setup until the opening credits start and you’re treated to hard rock song that feels utterly out-of-place and made more so when the editor decided that turning up its volume to ear-bleeding proportions on the film’s audio track was the way to go.
|Is that Dr. Curt Connors in the background? In Lizard form, of course.|
|Cool...he is literally killing it with fire.|
|"You know you want me, Baraka."|
On the surface, Primal seemed to have promise as the group finds their friends become monsters and it looks like the movie is on the verge of being a nice Aussie take on the zombie story. Sadly, this movie gets bogged down on the fact it decides to get stranger and stranger as the film goes on, decides to opt out of using tone to create fear by using the cheap and easy “jump” tactics and it has some bad CG use at the end which makes the film more laughable then horrifying. This is one of those films that could have been better if they just kept it simple. Some friends become murderous zombies and try to kill and eat the rest. Pretty hard to screw that up.
|"Wow, this is way better than staying home, getting drunk and huffing paint."|
However, the film tries to offer up a reason for this infection and, in doing so, makes the movie an unintentional comedy. It’s hinted that the land they are on is cursed/haunted/infected somehow and that a cave nearby contains some ancient evil. One of the brutes makes a kangaroo sacrifice to the cave and one of the members of the group is taken and becomes the love doll to the beast that resides inside. But since movie monsters are never satisfied, another member of the group makes their way into the cave (to save the other, of course) and ends up getting strapped down by some tentacles (anime fans settle down) and gets “mouth raped” by a giant worm-beast (I think I just made the anime fans more excited). This would be okay (as okay as watching a worm mouth-rape a woman as it can be) except it is thrown in right before the credits, there’s really not much build up to a raping worm throughout the movie and the budget-level computer effects to create this beast is pretty bad by even Direct-to-DVD standards.
|Anime fans rejoice!|
Then there’s also the fact that, after being infected, the group’s friends become the most noble, most polite duo of cannibalistic feral mutants the world of cinema has ever seen. Oh sure, they DO try to kill their friends but only do so when it’s convenient. When they burst onto the scene, they do their murder thing and leave the rest to themselves and calmly walk into the wilds of the Outback. I kid you not, there is even a scene where the group keeps eye contact with the beasties as they casually saunter away. I swear I heard the feral monsters even said, “later” and gave a slight nod of their heads as they left.
|"I sure hope I don't get mouth-raped by a giant worm."|
I know I sound harsh but Primal isn’t that bad of a movie. The ending moments (the parts WITHOUT the mouth-raping earthworm) offer up a brutal wrap up to an almost forgotten plot thread and, at its heart, the story is pretty decent (once again, forgetting the parts with the oral-dominating annelid). The acting is passable, although no one on the cast really stands out but none of them are terrible either. Sure the movie could have been made simpler and, in the process, more enjoyable but it wasn’t unwatchable. As a reader of my blog, you should know by now that I love bad movies (and if you haven’t learned that fact yet, do you even pay attention to these reviews?). I enjoy watching a film that has bad special effects, odd stories and bad acting. The whole product becomes a source of amusement for me. That’s what Primal gave me. Sure I enjoyed it for the exact OPPOSITE reasons the filmmakers were going for but at least I enjoyed it to some extent. It’s not like I wasted 3 hours of my life watching Avatar.