Primal DVD Review
Written by Sarah James
DVD released by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Directed by Josh Reed
Written by Nigel Christensen and Josh Reed
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 80 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 28th February 2011
Krew Boylan as Mel
Ch'aska Cuba de Reed as Squatter's daughter
Santiago Cuba de Reed as Squatter's son
Lindsay Farris as Chad
Rebekah Foord as Kris
Damien Freeleagus as Warren
Stephen Shanahan as Squatter
Wil Traval as Dace
Zoe Tuckwell-Smith as Anja
Now, you can call me a film fascist if you like, but when a modern horror movie opens with the caption “2000 AD” I begin to yawn uncontrollably, my eyes glaze over and I down another Pinot Grigio. I‘ve never been one for history, what with me being “down with the kids” and all, but I’m always happy to admit when I’m wrong. Cough. In Primal a group of sexy 20-somethings travel to the Australian outback to study some ancient cave drawings. Unbeknown to them, the mysterious pictures are actually sending a warning message that they don’t have a hope in hell of deciphering.
The group consists of the usual unlikeable set of individuals that actually makes it more fun to watch them die. The self-confessed slut of the group Mel, played by Krew Boylan, decides to go skinny dipping in the lake on their first night in the forest. Her sort-of boyfriend doesn’t like this at all, shouting “Have some dignity!” Wow, sexy 20-somethings are more uptight than they used to be. Later, Mel starts to feel ill and so retires to her tent for the evening. A few hours later, while bleeding from the mouth, she slowly grows fangs. By morning she has literally turned Primal, suddenly finding rancid dead animals a tasty treat and later doing it doggy-style (sorry mother) with one of her camp mates, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Surprisingly the others are reluctant to kill their admittedly annoying friend, so they let her stalk around them for a while like a fascinating cross between a hungry fox and a performance dancer. While they are busy making a plan though, Mel gets one of the group on his own and quickly gobbles him up. Soon the unaffected members become outnumbered.
I wasn’t too keen on the sped up parts of the film, where they were making it look like Mel was moving inhumanly fast. These SFX just made the whole thing look cheap and ended up distracting from the otherwise visually slick film. In the scenes where they were discussing who should kill their friends they draw straws, which leads them to turn on each other because they feel threatened. Normally in films this works well because you have one character that has been aggressive or very persuasive throughout. In Primal it felt out of place because those characters had already been picked off by the mysterious curse.
That said, I actually thought the film was highly enjoyable; the humorous script coupled with some very well-placed swear words, used to great comic effect, made for an edgy modern horror that harked back to the good old days. It was an almost perfect example of a "friends gone crazy" movie. Primal didn’t just rely on cheap scares, although there were plenty of those, it centred a lot on feelings of disgust and loss of respect. Being human, I suppose. When you lose your humanity you soon find out who your friends are.
Video and Audio:
Available in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround sound. Visually it is as glossy as you would expect but at times the sound was undoubtedly out of sync.