For all intensive purposes (teehee), Primal begins as a bad movie, one that you’ll be tempted to turn off. Because I suffer through most any horror movie, I suffered through the beginning of Primal. You should, too.
Primal starts out with a pre-kill. Not a bad sign, but not a good one. Like many horror-movie makers, they feel the need to get a kill in early, before they lose the gnat-like attention span of the horror fan. They need to get a kill in too quickly to make us care, which means they’re just satiating our blood lust. One thing going for this pre-kill is that it takes place 12,000 years in the past, which is definitely one of the earliest I can think of. And of course, it sets up a timeless-evil-returning-to-wreak-havoc-on-the-modern-world feel.
The next scene is a road trip into. Grad students and friends drive an SUV into the wilderness, where young people go to get murdered. In this SUV are such thin characters that I can’t even place a descriptor on one of them. Two are students. One is the INCREDIBLYANNOYINGASSHOLE. One is the sensitive male. One is the slutty girl. The other young woman is completely non-descript, and remains so throughout Primal. My guess is that she’s there just to increase your anticipation of seeing a boob.
So these grad students want to look at some cave paintings that haven’t been seen in 120 years. I guess that means they’re archaeologists or anthropologists– or fine arts students… I dunno. But they have to walk through a cave tunnel to get to the site.
And here’s where you get the first hint that this movie might be good.
One of the young women has claustrophobia, and the cinematography goes from adequate to awesome. The claustrophobia that The Descent provided effortlessly, Primal provides in rock-video fashion, but it’s great. Unfortunately, it takes a while for Primal to provide another scene as engaging.
The claustrophobic young woman doubles back to drive the car the long way around, while the others head on to build a campsite near the cave paintings. At this cave painting, they are attacked by the most blood-thirsty bunny you’ve encountered since you-know-what.
What turns the bunny so be-fanged? You’re not sure, but it begins to work on the slutty young woman, who deserves this fate for giving freely of her vagina.
Not long after this, Primal begins to kick ass. You’ve got the fear of the wilderness, and then the fear of human’s animalistic side unleashed, culminating in one of the coolest fight scenes I’ve ever seen in my life. At 1:10, a machete fight so awesome occurs that the entire movie becomes worthwhile. It’s almost exactly what I pictured in my head when I was writing the fight scenes in my feral vampire novels, Burden Kansas and its sequel Blood Tells True.
Then there’s some CGI tentacle porn. No lying! But pay attention to the second song in the credits for a fun surprise.
I often talk about moments that make a horror movie for me. Primal is strange, in that it has several genius moments sprinkled throughout banal horror fluff. I think you should definitely watch it, but I can in good conscience give it only a 6 out of 10.
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