The moment I read the plot for Primal I thought to myself “that’s my kind of film!” It sounded exciting, gruesome and fun…plus it’s always nice to see a horror movie from down under.
It started promising; anthropology student Dace (Wil Traval) and a group of five tagalong friends head into the forest to photograph some ancient cave drawings. After the obligatory fun car trip scene, they arrive and the soppy main girl Anja (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) reveals herself though her paranoid behaviour when they have to pass though a cave to get to their required destination. A brief survey of the paintings and a freak bunny attack (yep you heard me) later and the guys settle down for a night of camping.
Mel (Krew Boylan) is ever the fun-loving soul and decides to indulge in a little skinny dipping; big mistake! Not only does she come out covered in leeches but she begins a rapid transition into a primal beast. After attacking several of her friends, they manage to fend her off temporarily and begin to form a plot to escape. Dace quickly takes charge and although hunky, he is certainly no hero and soon enough, due to poor luck, he too changes leaving the others a whole world of strife. As they are picked off by the predatory pair what’s left of the group must venture back through the mountain where they soon realise something much worse lurks.
I’d like to comment on this film in parts, the main bulk of the movie, and the ending. The body of the film is very good. The acting is strong to moderate, the plot very exciting and the monsters terrifying. There is also the very interesting moral debate of whether they kill their friend to save themselves which leads to a huge fracture in the group. It put me in mind of a more easy-going The Ruins. However the end is a real stinker. It goes completely of the rails adding an element to the story that is totally unnecessary (with terrible effects to boot). It’s shame it does not live up to the promise of the rest of the movie and the flat ending, although fun in some ways, takes away from the overall enjoyment of the movie.
This is a good example of someone overcompensating to make up for a weak finale. If you can’t explain the phenomena then my advice is not bother; the film would have been just as fun without all the answers or if it had just happened “because…”.
Video sourced from YouTube.