PRIMAL (2010) Review

Directed by: Josh Reed
Starring: Krew Boylan, Lindsay Farris, Wil Traval, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith

A group of friends take a road trip to check out some ancient Aboriginal cave paintings which apparently nobody has seen in over 120 years. One of the guys Dace (Traval) is working on his thesis and the rest of the group are basically just tagging along for some camping and adventure.
A group of friends taking a trip out into the wilderness? Could it get anymore cliché? Of course it could.
The first half hour or so of the movie introduces us to the characters who are exactly as we expect them to be. There is the couple who seemingly came along only for the chance to fuck in their tent. There is the girl with a past traumatic experience which she must overcome, there is the leader of the group, the joker and another girl thrown in with the single purpose of dying horribly.
But soon after taking a nude dip in some leech infested water, Mel (Boylan) begins a horrifying transformation. First she breaks out in a fever, starts talking gibberish and then her teeth fall out and are finally replaced by extra long pointed fangs. She reverts back to some primal, animal-like state and begins violently attacking her friends. Before long they realize that face a moral dilemma. Do they kill Mel or do they risk death themselves by trying to capture her alive?

PRIMAL reminds me of movies like The Ruins and Cabin Fever but especially the latter, with the protagonists being pitted against not only a killer virus but also against each other. I'm not a huge fan of either though and I actually have to say that I preferred PRIMAL over both of them.
The first hour or so gets pretty intense particularly after Mel's transformation, and the way the friends deal with their situation is intriguing to say the least. After Mel kills and then chows down on one of them, the rest seem to make up their mind that she needs to be killed. All of course except for her stupid boyfriend Chad (Farris) who seems to think that she's 'still in there' and that he can 'get through to her'.
Apart from the sometimes frustratingly stupid characters and the shoddy looking CGI (especially the scenes involving any kind of super-high jumping or people being thrown) I found the movie to be entertaining and engaging and it kept me intrigued right up until the last 20 minutes or so where things fell apart a little. The final scene however did get a little chuckle from me.

Despite being about as predictable and cliché as you can get and not scary at all, I actually found PRIMAL to be an enjoyable enough movie with some good action scenes, decent acting and a fair amount of blood. Veteran horror fans will find nothing new here, but casual watchers will probably enjoy it although the violence (including rocks smashing heads, teethe falling out, throats being torn open etc) may be a little too much for some.

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