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Primeval (2006)

-Review by Nic Brown-

How a film is marketed makes a big difference in how well it does at the box office. That is an obvious statement, but I think a perfect example of this is the 2007 film “Primeval”. I had read about this film a month or two before it came out, but it was only when I saw the first preview for the movie that I realized the studio actually seemed to be trying to hide what the film was about. The advertising talked about the true story of Gustav, the most prolific serial killer in history. Gustav is said to have killed over 300 people in Africa, and is reportedly still on the loose. This is a pretty good teaser except for the fact that Gustav is not a human serial killer, he’s a man eating crocodile. The result, is that people were actually laughing at the trailer in the cinema where I saw it. It also means that many people who go to see it thinking it might be along the lines of “Silence of the Lambs” are going to be very unhappy when they find out it’s not.

 

It is a shame the film was marketed this way because it is actually a pretty good horror film. The story line is pretty simple: A U.N. investigator gets eaten by a killer croc so a TV network sends in a crew to do a story and capture the reportedly giant, beast. The team consists of a wussy version of Steve “The Croc Hunter” Irwin named Mathew Collins (Gideon Emery), the producer Tim (Dominic Purcell from TV’s “Prison Break”), the camera man Steve (Orlando Jones) and Aviva (Brooke Langton) the journalist. They meet up with Jacob Krieg (Jrgen Prochnow) a hunter and guide who will take them to find Gustav.

 

One interesting point for me about this film was that the suspense factor shifts from the hunt for Gustav to the threat of “Little Gustav” a regional warlord who controls the area. Little Gustave wants the TV crew dead because of video they took of him killing local villagers who were in his way. I wouldn’t exactly call it a major twist, but it does give the film a bit more dimension as issues of African “Black on Black” violence and the way it is ignored by the mainstream western media are touched on. Don’t take this to mean that this isn’t a film about a giant man eating crocodile, because that’s what it is and the director (Michael Katleman) brings the animal and human threats together in a satisfying, if predictable manner at the end.

 

Overall “Primeval” is good entertainment. Orlando Jones is a definite high point for the film with him adding just the right comedic relief without being obviously just there for the jokes. I give “Primeval” 7 out of ten despite the studio’s devious advertising campaign (serial killer HA!), it’s not the best giant crocodile film ever, but it does an OK job at keeping you entertained. Check it out pilgrims!



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