Sigh… Seems Winter is determined to keep pounding poor lil’ me with it’s frigid fury these days, but it only makes “Movie Nite” all that much more enjoyable. Since that means a cuddle with my sweetie, Carolyn, every now and again your Favorite Catgirl needs a movie where all the people speak English…. or at least English with an accent….. just for her to be able to enjoy it too. Luckily… I can get that and my much needed fix of gory fun with the new Region 1 DVD release for the Australian horror movie “Primal”.
Our synopsis for it goes along these lines: “A group of friends venture into the wilds of Australia to study an ancient aboriginal rock painting, and come face to face with ancient evil when one of them experiences a terrifying transformation. The expedition was routine until one of the girls decides to go skinny-dipping in a nearby billabong, and is attacked by a swarm of bloodsucking leeches. Later, when she starts to sprout razor sharp teeth and appears to turn rabid, her friends become the prey in a vicious, bloody hunt. Before long another one of them begins showing signs of infection, prompting the rest of the group to fight for their lives with everything they’ve got. Retreating into a cave as a last, desperate measure, the remaining survivors discover that the mysterious painting they came to study was an ancient warning…. a warning they’ve come to comprehend far too late….”
Hehehehe!! Now… this one sounds good! And by good, naturally your Favorite Catgirl Movie Fanatic means super gooey, bloody, scary, and ever sooo much fun!! I’m not certain Carolyn will like it as much as me…. but she’s a good sport, and a second movie, more her style, awaits our viewing right afterward, so it’s all good!
But you, Gentle Visitors, are probably more interested in the flesh chomping crazy fun to be had too….. (Awwww, c’mon!! Admit it…. Neko knows you soooo well….) So to learn all about this one, you just know already that you’ll want to “Read On”!!
Our story starts some 12,000 years ago… waaaaay back when the aborigines roamed the land and did all those really cool rock painting you see in “National Geographic”. Unfortunately for our budding artist, he’s been tasked with the job of doing a painting to warn away all those unlucky enough to come across this particular cave…. Yep. You know the sort of place we’re talking about…. the lair of some primordial freaky monster thingees that just wants to do all sorts of nasty unspeakable things to those unwary enough to stray to close or stay too long. Can you say “Cthulhu”? Mind you…. it’s not him, but I’m pretty sure they lived fairly close to one another in the “Forbidden Dark Dimension” all such abominations seem to hail from…. One crazy flesh ripping attack later…. and it’s fast forward from the bloody past to the present day.
Then we meet our happy lil’ group of 20-something friends, Dace (played by Wil Traval), the leader of the group and his quiet girlfriend Kris (played by Rebekah Ford). Blonde, irrepressible party girl Mel (played by Krew Boylan) along with with her boyfriend Chad (played by Lindsay Ferris), and their buddies, likable joker Warren (played by Damien Freeleagus) and our main heroine, the claustrophobic Anya (played by Zoe Tuckwell-Smith). Being a low budget effort, our filmmakers wisely chose to keep the group small, and all the expected stereotypes are on board to make telling the tale all that much easier.
Expecting a lot of deep meaningful character development? Not in this one…. there’s some bit about Anya having been brutalized by her ex-boyfriend and it’s the stated reason for her claustrophobia, but otherwise doesn’t really figure into the story at all. Given Dace’s “Alpha male” mentality, I half expected there to be more tension between them, but there isn’t. Mostly we get a lot of whining once things go so terribly wrong. Thank goodness they don’t waste time getting to that.
Yep…. right after the gang gets to the big ol’ mountain where our rock painting is, the local wildlife has already been… affected… by the thing in the cave. You’d think an attack by gnarly, fanged bunny rabbit would be enough to have these guys soooo outta here, but noooooo! They go all gaga at the pretty paintings and make camp for the night. It’s an exploitation flick, so of course, flirty Mel can’t resist going for a little midnight skinny dip in the Billabong. Apparently… “Billabong” is aborigine for “smelly stagnant pond full of leeches”, and somebody forgot to tell Mel that…. Ewwwwhhh!! One quick, gratuitously nude, “de-leeching” later, and Mel is off to sleep where it isn’t long before her boyfriend knows there’s a problem a’ brewin’. Fever…. headaches…. and the bloody loss of her teeth, one by one, and he’s all for hauling her butt off in search of medical care. Too bad that means abandoning the study of those cool rock paintings… the only reason Dace is even interested in being here. He pulls a fit, and tells everybody that Mel will be fine… a few aspirins, some sleep, and by tomorrow she’ll be as right as rain. Yeah… right. Naturally with his aggressive macho “take charge” posturing, he’s able to bully the others into staying… just till the morning.
By next morning, Mel is much, much better… if being all super strong, crazy, and cannibal mutant can be called better. She eats the carcass of the killer bunny, and then goes all berserk on her friends. Baaad!! Bad, Mel!! Down, girl!! Here’s where the fun really starts! I can’t say I was really fond of Mel in the beginning of the movie….. reminding me too much of a lot of the silly girls I went to school with back in the day….. but crazy cannibal Mel, now there’s a character I can get excited about! Naturally… the smart thing to do would be to arm up and pound her into a pulp before she can kill and eat them all, but also naturally Chad has a few problems with that idea. Yep… he’s got the whole “We can cure her and make her better!! It’s still Mel!!” idea…… Dumb, Chad…. really, really dumb.
So… instead our heroes try to trap Mel… Like a bunch of torch wielding Transylvanian peasants chasing the Wolfman, they bumble ahead with this stupid idea long enough to get Warren’s throat torn out right in front of them. Darn…. kinda liked Warren….. Oh well. Ok, ok…. so what about taking the land rover and making a run for it? Nope. Remember the crazed animals? Well, it seems the bugs hereabouts can eat anything, and Neko means, anything. Like car tires…. right down to the rims. Darn. So are they gonna kill Mel yet? Nope…..
She basically besieges them in the camp… waiting to pick them off, one by one, and killing anything else she comes across too…. feeding the stuff she doesn’t want for herself to the Thing in the cave. Why? Don’t worry… you’ll find out. Of course… it doesn’t take long for somebody else to get infected by the same thing that mutated Mel. Unluckily for our heroes, it’s Dace…. just when you didn’t think he could become any more of an annoying ass. Sigh….. surprisingly, our civilized heroes can’t bring themselves to just kill him while he’s weak and mutating…. so we soon get two crazy psychotic cannibals chasing them about the woods.
This is about the remainder of the story. Eventually, you find out the horrible nature of the Thing in the cave….. and just how terribly “cthulhoid” it really is….. Naturally plucky Anya ends up our only survivor and has to face her paralyzing fear of the cave to escape alive. Let’s just say the writer of “Primal” must also have seen “Galaxy of Terror” in his younger days just like a certain wee Catgirl. (Either that, or waaaay too much Japanese hentai….. Hehehehe!!)
So? How did I like this one? Surprisingly… it way actually a pretty neat little film. It had all the best elements of all those old exploitation films of my childhood, wrapped up in a simple plot and with a reasonably gruesome execution. Sure… at times the characters were truly… annoyingly… stupid, but then in a movie like this, they are actually supposed to be that way. Having a small cast works too… and although the CG effects were primitive by Hollywood standards, you have to remember this Catgirl has seen far worse ones in some of the wacky foreign fare I usually watch. For me, anyway, they worked well enough.
I can give “Primal” 3 “Meows” out of 5, with a nice purr of appreciation for frisky rabid Mel and the makeup effects crew. She certainly gives this one her all with her impersonation of a rabid cannibal Olympic gymnast on crack… not somebody I’d want to run into any time soon. Carolyn even liked it, getting into the swing of things and hugging me extra close during the nastier parts. She even told me…. in the sweetest of ways….. that if I ever went all crazy, mutant, and rabid on her, she’d shoot me right between the eyes rather than let me run wild because that’s just the kind of thoughtful girlfriend she was, hehehehe!! Awwwww! My sweetie loves me enough to shoot me in the head…. that’s waaaay more love than Chad showed. Ha!!… Mel… so there!! (Not to worry though…. this lil’ Catgirl has already had her shots…… so I’m safe from crazy alien rabies.)
The DVD is nice, if a bit spartan, and well worth the 15-20$ pricetag. Maybe not a buy for most, but certainly worth a rental if silly exploitation movies are your thing, like they are mine.
Trailer? Yep… here’s all the freaky, rabid, mutant girlfriend action you could ever want, enjoy!! Yay!!