Primal (2010) by Matt Wavish (Pazuzu)

Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , ,


6 friends head off on an adventure to study ancient rock paintings in this shocker from Australia. Supposedly these paintings haven’t been seen for centuries and have been hidden away. Written on the rocks by local aborigines, our group simply want to photo the symbols, but seem to have no idea what they mean. The set up to the film is pretty basic, the six friends including the sexy and teasing Mel and the quiet and contained Anja, another girl and three blokes all laugh and joke just how you’d expect them to in the car on the way to the jungle. Arriving in the middle of nowhere, the quickest way to the rocks is through a dark and damp cave, or a day’s trek around the outside. Anja has a panic attack in the cave in a relatively decent scare moment that sets up the film nicely and shows promise to some hopefully well timed scares later on. Poor Anja has cut her arm, makes a big thing about it all and her friend Mel tells her to “get over it”. It would seem Anja is one of those girls with “issues” and from this moment on, it’s clear who the main character is going to be. Not that I was complaining, Anja is a looker I’ll give her that, in fact all the girls are and in their shorts and vests there’s much to enjoy!!

Eye candy aside, Primal does offer up its fair amount of all things horror really, it has everything. It’s like the maker’s have studied horror and tried to throw in as much as possible.  It has you guessing to begin with as to what the threat actually is. A clever scene involving the point of view of a hunting rabbit is well delivered, and once the rabbit is revealed we sit back down thinking its all ok, only for the guy who caught it to show its teeth. They are certainly NOT normal teeth for a rabbit, I should know, I’ve got one! Something strange is going on here, and we sure as hell want to find out what it is, and we do! As the friends settle down for their first night camping, Mel is in a sexual mood. Already upsetting everyone else by having sex with her boyfriend in her tent (the cheek of it) she decides to go skinny dipping (hooray!) but this irritates her boyfriend as Mel is making a spectacle of herself. Well, if she’s drawing attention to herself now, you aint seen nothing yet my friend! Refusing to skinny dip with her in the water hole in the middle of the jungle, at night which is probably full of all sorts of nasty bugs and things (yeh, attractive as she is I would’ve probably sat this one out too!) he decides to walk off and leave her, only to be met with Mel screaming her head off. Now the money shot, Mel is stood starkers on the edge of the pool (woo hoo!) but she is covered, and I mean covered in leeches (boo!!!). Dace, the guy with the most medical knowledge grabs some salt and jumps to the rescue, pulling off the leeches and probably enjoying every second. Sadly, Mel, from this point on, is doomed! They are all doomed!

Mel becomes feverish and the plan is to get her back to the real world and to safety. Problem is, these tiny black termite looking bugs have eaten the land rover’s tyres, and seem to be eating away the tents too. In fact, they seem to be everywhere and so the plan is then to wait and see how Mel is in the morning. Bad idea, she wakes and tries to be all sexual with her man again, but the problem is she has blood running from her mouth, and her teeth have been replaced with great big fangs! Mel has a problem and no one is really sure what to do about it. The first half hour is all build up, getting to know your characters and nice scenery with a few well produced scares, what follows is a race for survival as Mel runs off and comes back, and runs off and comes back. In the blink of an eye, one of the blokes has figured out Mel is scared of fire; it just seemed to come naturally to him “Fire, that’s it!!” And so, flame on a stick; he uses this to keep Mel at arm’s length. She has become a hunter, desperate to eat them with her new pointy teeth. The big problem here though, is she aint all that scary and constantly screams in a silly voice that is neither terrifying nor even mildly unsettling, what it is though is incredibly annoying and ruins and tension her attack may build up.  That said though, the film does head off into nasty territory now, with plenty of biting, ripping and blood spilling. I’d like to think of this film now as a sort of Cabin Fever on steroids, it’s a more meatier version of that film with added gore and action, but it just has these silly screams coming from a beast-woman who is supposed to be scary.

This is how your second act plays out, with Mel on the hunt and she also finds herself a friend and new sexual partner, much to the annoyance of her boyfriend who attacks her new partner in a brilliant display of jealous rage and superb camera work. Choices are also made in this second act, one’s which are difficult and at times, even more difficult to watch as another member of the group becomes infected and no one has the will power to actually kill them. The third and final act of the film goes all perverse and dark as the source of the infected is revealed and it wants babies! It gets a bit unsettling, baffling and a little strange to say the least, but it’s an extremely satisfying ending to what is another great example of Horror from Down Under. Crisp production, the film looks good; it never comes across as cheap and tacky. The pace is well suited to the horror on offer, and the makers take full advantage of what little plot is available. The film does border on silly, and it’s not a horror to be taken seriously and so i can never imagine it was intended to well and truly shock, more simply satisfy the gore hounds and give the casual horror fan something else to talk about. For serious horror fans though, it may disappoint in its lack of originality and story. It’s perfect Friday night entertainment for an easy watch, and I guess it’s one that will also be gracing my collection, at the right price.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆


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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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