Let’s get one thing straight. Contrary to its deceptive marketing campaign, Primeval has nothing to do with a serial killer. In fact, it is a monster movie about a 25 ft crocodile (Lake Placid?) terrorizing South Africa in the midst of a civil war. But to say that it’s a single monster movie is inaccurate, it’s every monster movie rolled into one with the worst computer-generated effects this side of Boa vs. Python.
The film opens with American woman being attacked by Gustave (ala Jaws), a near-mythical croc with a taste for man flesh. When news of the attack reaches the Sates, prominent animal journalist Aviva, hot shot T.V. executive Tim and the 7up Yours guy are sent to South Africa to capture the creature. Of course, whenever Africa is in the picture there is some sort of half-assed social message tacked on, even in a movie where a c.g. croc runs amuck.
Granted the story and concept is completely awful, but its execution is even worse. With the T.V. crew attempting entice the croc into a cage with a goat (Jurassic Park) and the suffering of South Americans as a trivialized secondary plot device, the filmmakers should have taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to ease the suffering if its audience.
Make no mistake, Primeval is painful to sit through. While the nameless cast of characters track the croc with a homing device, they stumble upon a local warlord, little Gustave, killing off a beloved local shaman. From that point on, not only are the fish-out-of-water Americans pursued by a killer croc but the warlord as well. Cue the suspenseful music. Neither storyline is compelling or particularly entertaining. When the croc isn’t around the warlord’s goons are and vice versa.
Amongst the tired, recycled script, the South African civil war subtext is the most offensive. The suffering of the Africans is even trivialized to the point where the writers pull the race card, claiming that the “white Americans don’t care about black on black crime when it’s down the street,” so no one would care about it happening in Africa. The injustice that the African people have endured transcends race to a violation of the most basic human rights. Then again, when the film doesn’t offer a single attempt at some originality, it’s not surprise that the Primeval writers would use African conflict as a sympathetic appeal to shield it from any critical response. After all, who could put down a movie about the suffering of the African people?
Well, if this movie honestly investigated social injustice maybe that would be the case, but instead it makes a mockery of it. When it comes right down to it, Primeval sucks in every sense of the word. There is nothing to redeem it. It wastes your time, money and opportunity to be watching any other movie in the multiplex. Hopefully by not supporting it, a message will be sent that we aren’t mindless sheep that will fall for a serial killer-esque marketing scheme.