When Primeval was released to theaters in early 2007, the marketing department made the odd choice of pitching the film as a serial killer movie. I had friends who honestly were looking forward to the film for the sole fact that it was a serial killer flick. When I told them that, in fact, Primeval had nothing to do with serial killers and instead was a monster movie about a large, killer crocodile, they, as well as the rest of America, decided not to show up.
Primeval is now out on DVD, and this time the marketing department made the wise choice of revealing the true nature of the film. Still, no one redid the actual movie, which means it is still a piece-of-crap Anaconda rip-off with lame special effects, uninteresting characters and a convoluted story. In fact, the movie is not really an Anaconda rip-off, but rather a blend of Anaconda and Blood Diamond, as the movie makes the mistake of thinking that people who came to watch a killer crocodile want to watch poorly done and heavy handed commentary on an African crisis. I give the movie props for trying to take things to the next level, but there are just some genres where it doesn't work. B-grade horror is one of those genres.
Despite all that, Primeval isn't a complete disaster, as it holds some entertainment value and offers up a fair amount of deaths. Dominic Purcell ("Prison Break") makes for a pretty good lead character, though despite featuring comic relief Orlando Jones, the rest of the cast is pretty much DOA. Brooke Langton doesn't make for an overly compelling love interest, though I suppose I've seen worse.
Now, if you watched this movie to see a serial killer film, you of course won't like the film at all. If you watched this movie to see a "monster" movie (okay, so crocodiles aren't monsters, but for the sake of the genre, it's essentially the same thing), however, you may still be disappointed, as the movie really lends more time to the African crisis (rebels murdering people). A lot of the action focuses on the characters trying to escape from these Burundi soldiers/rebels rather than the crocodile, which, in reality, makes things a bit more interesting (human adversaries are always more interesting than creatures) but may turn off those, like my mother, who love their B-grade creature flicks.
I also wish the movie would have given the croc a little more of a personality. If you compare this film to Jaws, for instance, there is never a sense of foreboding when the croc is around. A little more tension during the crocodile scenes could have gone a long way.
Primeval has its moments and has its heart in the right place, but between the marketing efforts and the focus of the film, it really targets the wrong audience.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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