"A group of friends venture into the wilds to study a rock painting, which means it’s not long before they come face to face with an ancient evil. One of the group goes skinny-dipping, emerging bloodied, dazed and confused, and before long she has undergone a brutal transformation, sprouting teeth and turning rabid. Her friends are now the prey, meaning it’s kill or be killed in writer-director Josh Reed’s rabid creature feature Primal.
So, away we go with the attractive slutty blonde (Krew Boylan), personality vacuum Chad (Lindsay Farris), handsome rogue Dace (Wil Traval), group joker Warren (Damien Freeleagus), potential first victim Kris (Rebekah Foord) and phobia scarred heroine-in-waiting Anja (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith). A familiar group of horror victims if ever there was one, but the characters and performances are much stronger than you might expect from a monster/slasher movie hybrid.
Josh Reed would do well to learn a little something about restraint, however, because there’s a decent horror movie hidden away beneath the glossy exterior of Primal. It’s all too shiny though, a little too showy, and had Reed taken the less-is-more approach we could’ve been on to something. Primal’s biggest failing is that, when the transformation takes place, any sense of true terror is lost. The rabid humans just aren’t scary enough, bouncing around like ravenous kangaroo’s, moaning and groaning like they’re suffering from a bad dose of man-flu.
The final act takes a monstrous turn, and the meagre budget just can’t keep up with it. You can’t fault Reed for ambition, but the CGI enhanced hokum leaves you with an overwhelming sense of disillusionment. There’s plenty of meat to chew on in Primal, but Reed has a thing or two to learn about classic horror before he truly makes his mark. That said, his bloated creature feature is blessed with one of the best last lines of the year."