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Primal

Directed by Steffen Schlachtenhaufen

Written by Steffen Schlachtenhaufen

Starring Bethany Davis, Brian Girard, Biz Urban, Jack Grigoli

Produced by Patrick McManus

Rated R

80 minutes

*

Okay, I confess going into this one that I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of it. I have seen very, very few good movies involving sasquatches. In fact, the last time I saw even close to a good movie involving sasquatches it didn’t even involve sasquatches at all, but rather was Lalo Schifrin’s Abominable, which featured abominable snowmen.

Primal, sadly, has absolutely nothing to suggest that it will be anything better.

The plot of Primal resembles very closely a slew of other movies that are almost exactly like it. Basically, a group of college students loosely connected to an oil drilling firm goes out into a woods where it’s likely no human being has before trod. And of course, they’ll be running into something out there, namely a host of bloodthirsty protohuman monstrousities that’ll be out to kill and eat them.

When I said that Primal had absolutely nothing to suggest that it will be anything better than any other sasquatch movie, I meant it. Primal is packed to the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed gills with all the worst mistakes a filmmaker can make. For instance, some productions might spend money on squibs and bloodpacks and whatnot when having a camper get attacked by a shaggy mutant beastie—not Primal! No sir! When campers get killed in Primal, the camera shudders like it’s going over twenty miles of bad road on a tripod with a missing leg.

Oh, and even better yet, the costuming for the sasquatches makes them look like kids in bad Halloween costumes. One particular sequence underscores it nicely as a sasquatch is caught walking and we’re looking at its feet. Unless we’re supposed to believe that sasquatches have no bones in their feet, we sit and watch as a toe bends at a 90-degree angle.

Which all adds up to one great steaming pantload of a movie. For crying out loud, can nobody handle the sasquatch genre? Is this just a complete loss for anyone who tries it? It’s looking more and more like that’s going to be the case, so I’m at a loss to explain why anyone actually tries it.

Worse yet, in a desperate bid to stretch this sucker out, they’ve tacked on a subplot involving a meth lab. Frankly, you’d have to be on meth to consider this a good idea. It’s a clear waste of time and space, and I can’t even begin to imaging why it’s here in the first place.

The ending is sort of out of left field, but I do give them credit for the unique way in which they rolled the end credits. I like the whole “message board” thing—it’s not done often and thus is worthwhile.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, as well as trailers for The Eye, Saw IV, Catacombs, Haunted Forest, Attack of the Sabertooth, Cerberus, Komodo Vs. Cobra, Caved In: Prehistoric Terror, and the really freaky Fearnet commercial.

All in all, yet another sasquatch flop for Lions Gate forces me to wonder why the genre even exists.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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