Friday, January 28, 2011


It's past midnight, and although I'm not certain that I've written about a movie where a attractive young people go nuts and start trying to eat their friends before, it seems pretty likely. And if I have, anything I write about Primal is just going to be me repeating myself. So what say I call it a night and come back strong writing "This Week" and "Next Week" on the way to work and during lunch?


* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 22 January 2010 at The Coolidge Corner Theatre #1 (@fter midnight, Blu-ray)

I suspect that the script for Primal was, even more than most horror movies, dictated by resources - they could get this location for filming, a little bit of simple CGI, a reasonably straightforward make-up job for every shooting day but a few more impressive gore effects on occasion, and a director with an animation background. It feels that way, at least - like filmmaker Josh Reed saw what he could make a movie with, connected the dots as best he could, and figured that enthusiasm is more important than coherence in this sort of movie, anyway.

So we start with three pairs of kids in their twenties. Dace (Wil Traval) is an anthropology grad student driving the van to see some cave paintings that an ancestor of his girlfriend Kris (Rebekah Foord) described 120 years ago. Along for the ride are Mel (Krew Boylan) and her boyfriend Chad (Lindsay Farris), who as expected are making their tent shake within minutes of pitching it; Anja (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith), nervous and claustrophobic after an ugly incident with her old boyfriend; and Warren (Damien Freeleagus), a friend whom one suspects would rather like to be more, but recognizes that now is not the time. Aside from finding a rabbit with huge, sharp teeth, things are going swimmingly - that is, until Mel goes skinny-dipping in a nearby pond. Even though the leeches are pulled off quickly, she starts running a fever, losing teeth, and regressing to a more primitive - and violent - state.

As groups of college students about to get chewed up and spat out by ancient evils go, it's a pretty good group. Not perfect - Chad is more or less "Mel's boyfriend" and Kris is "Dace's girlfriend/Anja's friend", although to the credit of Reed, Farris, and Foord, they do manage to make themselves more than filler with which to increase the body count. The other characters are not particularly deep, granted, but they're familiar-enough figures that are likable enough - or, in the case of Wil Traval's Dace, thorough-enough pricks - to keep the audience amused before things go screwy and afterward. Special credit to Krew Boylan, who takes what is basically the bimbo of the group and makes us like her just enough that the audience doesn't slip into "that thing's not Mel anymore!" mode right away.

Full review at EFC.

No comments: