Tue. Sep 17th, 2019

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Primal’ (2010)

4 min read
Let me explain that this movie has ALL my criteria for good independent horror.  First!  It was cheeky as hell. It didn't take itself too seriously.  While the characters stayed in character and were all serious business, the plot complimented it by having frequent silly moments that fit well with the serious undertone.  I also got the feeling the cast was having fun, and if that shines through post production, it makes the film that much more enjoyable.

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Serious and Slapstick combined!

I love it when I tiptoe through the bargain bin movies and it yields a little gem like this.  Like all movies with a shoe string budget, it’s not what one would call good cinema, but it was a fuck ton of fun.  As I’m often to point out, that’s all that fucking matters.  Remember, I also grade on a curve, and while this clearly did have some budget, it wouldn’t even approach a small Hollywood production.

Let me explain that this movie has ALL my criteria for good independent horror.  First!  It was cheeky as hell. It didn’t take itself too seriously.  While the characters stayed in character and were all serious business, the plot complimented it by having frequent silly moments that fit well with the serious undertone.  I also got the feeling the cast was having fun, and if that shines through post production, it makes the film that much more enjoyable.

The characters are believable.  Sure, they’re tropey, but that’s not always a bad thing. Remember, tropes and cliches can be used in a way that helps the audience relate to the characters and the plot.  It doesn’t have to be in a way that makes you roll your eyes.  You hate the ones you’re supposed to hate and like the ones you’re supposed to like.  In the end, their deaths are fitting and/or meaningful, and in many ways even a little fun.

Now mind you, the plot is ridiculously simple, but I can’t really get into it without getting into the spoilers.  Suffice to say, it’s survival horror, and the characters manage to portray the ‘brink of madness’ human desperation, while still being a little slapstick.  That’s an extremely hard tightrope to walk.  Managing to seamlessly combine serious and silly is actually a pretty impressive feat.

I can’t mention that, without also mentioning the fact that these kids were actually pretty solid actors.  We’re not talking award winning performances, but it’s good for horror, so who the fuck cares.  Every one of them deserves acknowledgement for being able to manage the serious with the slapstick.

I can’t stress this enough, if you’re a Riffer or Horror Head, this is a must watch.  Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

SPOILERS!!!  But seriously, don’t read any further, just watch it!

So this movie, much like The Ruins, is almost a contagion survival movies.  Something in the water causes individuals who are exposed to it to take on demonic like traits.  They seem to mutate, growing rows of jagged teeth, and gaining inhuman strength.  Much like zombie survival, the plot starts out about discovering what’s causing the ‘infection’ and hopefully curing those who have been turned.

That’s quickly thrown out the window, as the turned begin to kill off the characters, occasionally capturing them for unknown purposes.

Now, of course, it gets to the point where all their excuses not to leave and come back with help become absolute nonsense, but hey, we couldn’t have them end the movie early, now could we.  And that’s what eventually escalates us to the big reveal at the end.

As it turns out, there’s a splash of Lovecraftian mythos that you may even recognize early in the movie.  If you don’t and you’re a fan, you’ll get it latter.  Basically, Shub Niggurath or something like a baby Shub Niggurath has infected the area with its evil seed and is looking for living human hosts in which to lay its thousand young.  In order to accomplish that, the ones it infects bring it human hosts which is why some are captured and not eaten.  Now, there’s no black goat or anything, but it’s definitely, at least a little inspired by depictions of Shub Niggurath’s true form.

Anyway!  LOVED IT!  Watch it!  Have fun!

Thank you for you continuing support!  You can see more of my great horror reviews like this on horror.media.
https://horror.media/authors/reed-alexander

You can also pick of a copy of my new novella “Inhuman Error,” coauthored with James Lief.  Check out the sample below!  Pre-orders are on sale for only $2+tax!
https://horror.media/sample-inhuman-error-first-of-the-upd-series-by-james-lief-and-reed-alexander-2019

Smaller-size-Inhuman-Error-1

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