In one of the most remote places on earth, a bloodthirsty
serial killer has claimed over 300 victims and is still at
large to this day. Now inspired by the true story of the world's
most prolific killer comes PRIMEVAL, a nail-biting horror-thriller
that follows an American news crew determined to capture this
terrifying murderer alive. The danger begins as producer Tim
Freeman, cameraman Steven Johnson and their rag-tag team set
out on a journey up-river in search of their subject. But
the deeper they probe into the mystery of this elusive assassin,
the deadlier their trip becomes.
story behind the marketing for “Primeval” sounds
far more interesting than the premise of the movie. When it
was first released theatrically in the States, no one knows
it’s a movie about a killing croc all thanks to the
talented bunch of marketing people at Disney (financed under
Hollywood Pictures). The tagline reads something like this:
“Inspired by the true story of the most prolific serial
killer in history."
your initial impression of it? A slasher horror-thriller perhaps?
And to top off, the giant croc and cast were never featured
on the posters except images of some gruesome skeletons.
the campaign work so well that nobody knows the main star
in fact is a twenty-feet amphibian. In the end, the movie
only earns a dismal US$10 million domestically throughout
its run. Barely enough to cover the production costs.
months later, the threatening picture of the big croc finally
make its first and last desperate attempt on the cover of
the “Primeval” DVD. And here we are reviewing
this home video product.
story follows a team consisting of television crew, a scientist
and journalist being send to the African country of Burundi
in search of a giant crocodile nicknamed Gustave, which have
killed hundreds of locals. Sounds like a mix of “Lake
Placid” with “Anacondas”?
there’s more to it. How about throwing in a stash of
“Blood Diamond” as well? To make matters worse,
the team is not only confronted by a terrifying creature but
also a civil war which is brewing there.
entirely in South Africa, “Primeval” boasts excellent
cinematography and exotic locations that even the National
Geographic Channel will be proud of. Although Stan Winston
is not here to advise on the creature effects, I must say
for the entire length, the CG effects for the big croc is
pretty much believable. Check out the scene whereby the cameraman,
Steven Johnson (played by Orlando Jones) is being chased by
it to prove my point.
Despite the few good points mentioned, the ultimate failure
of “Primeval” lies in the treatment of the script.
It doesn’t belong to an action drama genre or a horror
thriller genre. Half the time, TV producer Tim Freeman (Dominic
Purcell who filmed this during his break from “Prison
Break” and conveniently spot the same cost-saving hairdo
and stubble) and his gang are running away from the civil
war soldiers than the croc. There’s even an action car-chase
that looks pretty out-of-place here. Seriously it lacks any
notions of good-old suspense, horror and fun.
It’s a sin to say that it’s not even as half-cheesy
as “Anacondas”. Worse, it makes another croc thriller,
“Lake Placid” Oscar-worthy.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
“Crocumentary: Bringing Gustave To Life” is
a short feature which touches on how the animators create
the CG creature. I suggest you watch the movie first as the
feature is spoilers-filled.
There are 3 "Deleted Scenes", none
of them really crucial and most are just extended cuts of
the original scenes. Naughty viewers out there might prefer
the “Shower” scene perhaps.
the “Audio Commentary by Director Michael Katleman
and Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Linden”
is a lively one. Watching the movie while listening to their
bantering adds more fun to it.
Most of the croc attacks took place at night and fortunately
the transfer has no problem bringing out the dark levels and
saturation. Like mentioned earlier in my review, the gorgeous
shots of the wild are bright and natural.
Equipped with at least 10 subtitle options and 4 languages,
this Code 3 DVD is more than sufficient to cater to the masses.
And the DD5.1 and 2.0 tracks are a boast with a generous helping
of surround sound effects such as gunshots and loud growls
courtesy of Gustave.
PARTING THOUGHTS: Remove that civil war subplot,
add in more Gustave and "Primeval" might triumph
as a good chessy B-grade movie. But alas it's a case of doing
too much with too little to show.
by Linus Tee