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  Publicity Stills of "Primeval"
(Courtesy from BVI)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Michael Katleman
Cast: Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton, Jurgen Prochnow
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: BVI
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 8 March 2007

Synopsis :

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 (Dominic Purcell, "Prison Break"), cameraman Steven Johnson (Orlando Jones) 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.

Movie Review:

Fearsome predators have always made movie monster material. You have the great white shark, wolves, even piranhas and prehistoric creatures like the T-Rex and the Velociraptors from the Jurassic Park franchise, making their way to the big screen in an effort to scare and thrill audiences. Few become monster hits (pardon the pun), and most usually end up as cheesy B-grade movies in dusty corners of a video rental shop.

Primeval brings us to the current "It" continent for movies, Africa, where a rag-tag television crew and their guides go to war-torn Burundi in search for the elusive man-eater, termed the Gustave by the locals. Loosely based on real incidents of villagers - fishermen and river bathers victims, and an actual crew who tried to bait and capture the creature unsuccessfully, Gustave by definition, isn't the imaginary Loch Ness or Yeti, but possibly Africa's largest freshwater crocodile, which can grow to as long as 6 metres and weigh up to a tonne.

While intial efforts and techniques, with quick cuts, fade to blacks, and sudden camera movement with glimpses of the monster's appearances were used to tease the audience, it fell very short when the creature itself finally appeared, giving a sort of an anti-climax to the build up. While Gustave proved to be difficult to catch, the set action pieces turned out rather cliched and predictable. You know the numbers were required to become creature fodder, and you'll spend time for the most parts, predicting who will meet a long awaited, mangled death.

The storyline decided to be a little more sophisticated than it could handle, splitting attention between Gustave, and incorporating the armed conflict between the Hutu insurgents and the Tutsi government. These animosities we had seen before in recent movies like Hotel Rwanda, and having the characters face challenges from both Gustave and the local militia, making them busy on different fronts, divided an audience's attention, stealing the thunder which should belong to the main star. So the end result was a very superficial sub plot on politics, and a monster which the filmmakers forgot how to amplify mood and moments of primal slaughter.

As with lesser monster movies, the actors here don't really matter, as acting chops are not a pre-requisite to star in such movies. Fans of Prison Break will probably celebrate their idol Dominic Purcell's presence on the big screen, expect nothing more than a brawny figure, leading comedian Orlando Jones (who had such bad lines they actually become funny), Brooke Langton (what's a monster movie without the resident babe?), and a host of others, in their reluctant mission. And it suffered the indignity of not knowing how to end, coming up with a contrived finale so bad, you'll cringe at the obvious homage to Jurassic Park: The Lost World.

Be warned though, with the family friendly rating here, expect all the gore to be eliminated, and those fancy final killer moves involving lethal chomping action to be severely muted down to a limp munch.

Movie Rating:

(This monster lacks lethal chompers)

Review by Stefan Shih


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