Action Movie Fanatix Review: Primeval

Inspired By The True Story Of The Most Bloodthirsty Crocodile Ever.

Starring: Dominic Purcell,Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton, Jurgen Prochnow

Director: Michael Katleman

2007  |  94 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Sorry I called you an asshole.” – Aviva Masters
“Sorry I’ve been one.” – Tim Manfrey

Primeval was originally marketed as being about the most prolific serial killer of all time but instead turned out to be about an XL crocodile.  Apparently this semi-deceptive ad campaign pissed a lot of the initial viewers off.  By the time I got around to seeing it though, I knew I wouldn’t be watching Silence of the Lambs and was able to have a pretty good time.

An American news crew is sent to the African country of Burundi to capture a 25-foot killer crocodile named Gustave that is terrorizing the villagers of the nearby towns.  Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell), Aviva Masters (Brooke Langton) and Steven Johnson (Orlando Jones) are not only hunted by Gustave but also by African soldiers.

Primeval is actually a pretty decent movie.  I was prepared for something equivalent to Sharktopus or Piranhaconda and it was much better than that.  It was actually watchable.

The CGI on the croc isn’t perfect but it is quite good.  The croc moves really well and would be hella scary if it was lumbering after you through an African field.  On top of that Gustave brutally kills his prey.  He’s not just gator rolls and chomping teeth.  Primeval is full of dismemberments and blood-spewing crushed skulls.  The only complaint I had about the crocodile itself was the sound it made.  It sounds more like Spielberg’s T-Rex than an actual crocodile.  Slightly altered croc noises would have been plenty scary without having it roar.

Aside from Gustave, Orlando Jones has the best character of the movie.  His is the only character with a sense of humor or any sort of depth.  All of the actors do their best with what they were given but they just aren’t fully fleshed out characters.  I am a big fan of Dominic Purcell and keep hoping he gets a big role that pushes him to that next level of action stardom but Primeval just wasn’t it.

Suspension of disbelief is in full effect here.  I am not normally one to pick apart every little decision that characters make in movies but even I had to wonder WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP GOING IN THE WATER???  You tell me there’s a 25-foot crocodile named Gustave wandering around and I won’t even shower until I hear he’s dead.  It also never made much sense to send an American news crew to catch a giant crocodile inAfrica.  There had to be someone closer and better suited for such a dangerous task.

The story is pretty standard monster movie fare.  Primeval adds the African soldiers who also happen to be trying to kill these American news people.  It is this addition that keeps it interesting and but are also what cause the film to lose its focus.  The middle of the movie becomes a bit slow and all it would have taken to spice it up would have been another croc attack or two.

The African sets are fabulous and bring something very unique to this genre.  If you weren’t constantly reminded by Orlando Jones of how horribleAfricais you might actually consider visiting.

Primeval is a fun, mindless monster movie with some good actors and special effects.  It isn’t at the level of Jurassic Park or King Kong but is certainly much better than I had expected.