I love Australian horror films. Two of my favourites are the zombie comedy Undead and the backpack killer flick Wolf Creek which is based on a true story. Today I managed to throw my lazy ass on the couch to checkout the Aussie horror flick PRIMAL with high expectations. Unfortunately it does not live up to my expectations but then I suppose it is a very poor way to judge films on their quality simply based on where they come from.
Primordial nature runs amuck in this neo-Ozploitation movie from Australian director Josh Reed. The film follows six friends on a field trip who set up camp in the remote wilderness of Australia. When one person takes a late-night skinny dip in a nearby waterhole, she becomes incredibly feverish and agitated, and soon regresses to a crazed predatory state in which her companions suddenly become the hunted. When another begins the same beastly transition, terror descends on the remainder as they realize it’s now kill or be killed.
Primal falls flat for a few reasons but that does not mean that you will not necessarily like this film it all depends on what you like about the horror genre. The premise is a unique mix of genres which I am going to call an eco-zombie movie where the environment turns friends into mindless flesh eating zombies with a predatory motive that goes back 10,000 years. Unfortunately for Primal a truly unique concept cannot redeem it from a weak cast, bad cinematography and some very bad CGI. Admittedly it’s not Playstation 2 bad like the UK War Of the Worlds remake I watched in around 2003 but it is still not good! Primal has some fantastic practical effects which are overshadowed by bad CG that made me want to throw something at my TV. Fortunately I did not give into that urge since loosing a TV over this movie would have been a double bummer.
Josh Reed the writer and Nigel Christensen the screenwriter deliver a truly unique experience with a story which ends up being overshadowed by a lack of polish on the final product that is disappointing. That said those of you who are hardcore indie horror fans will find a place in your heart for this film. It is by no means the worst horror film I have seen and when you are willing to overlook certain elements like bad cg and lack luster performances you can find something to love in this film. The female lead disappointed me but co-stars Damien Freeleagus and Wil Travel did a fantastic job and were able to redeem large segments of this film. Were it not for the practical effects, some well thought out storytelling and a few great moments from the cast Primal would have been a complete write off. That said with a more experienced cast and more polish Primal could have been an absolutely genius experience akin to Toby Wilkins Splinter. Primal is a shame mainly because it could have been so much more.
Check it out if you must but don’t say I did not warn you. On a side note one thing I believe we can all agree on is the poster for Primal is two words… Bad Ass!