A group of friends pack up and head out to the Australian wilderness in order to to visit a secluded cave system and a rare set of aboriginal rock art. Once there they all settle in for a short weekend stay but the the fun is soon cut short when one of the girls, Mel, falls violently ill after swimming. Instead of leaving though the group assumes it’s nothing more than an allergic reaction to leeches and they decide to let her sleep it off.
The next morning, instead of sleeping in her tent and recovering, they discover Mel feasting on the carcass of a dead rabbit! Far from getting “better,” Mel has transformed into a flesh-eating monster, a primal beast that hunts down its prey, eats its fill and sacrifices the remainder to something dwelling deep within the cave.
Forced to defend themselves against the ravenous mutant, the only way to survive becomes increasingly clear, kill Mel before she kills them!
If you were to combine 70′s/80′s backwoods survival with 2K10 zombie cinema, you’d probably get something very similar to Josh Reed’s Primal; a thrilling, low budget shocker with healthy portions of nasty gore, noisy sex, snarling mutant monsters and 12,000 year old alien presence. There’s nothing particularly genre-changing here but the film features competent direction, acting worthy of applause and high production values, all of which add up to entertaining horror that looks and sounds good.
Outside of some predictability and less-than-satisfying CG featured in the final quarter of this production, I found Primal to be fast-paced and interesting, the characters were all surprisingly likable and the mutants (including mutated vermin) were truly intimidating. Naturally any time you set a film like this in a big forest or some other inaccessible, far flung locale with insatiable monsters, the tension tends to be amped up considerably, thankfully Primal was no exception.
I definitely enjoyed watching Primal though, in the end, I just don’t think I’ll be purchasing this for my own personal collection. I was able to rent this from IFC Midnight On Demand and it was entertaining, no doubt about it, but when all was said and done I found the entire thing pretty average with a low replay value, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, just not good enough for me to own. This is far from “Ozploitation” or “classic,” as the theatrical poster would have you believe, but its still worthy of a rental.