After a caveman prologue, the film throws out a cool credit sequence that takes the viewer through 12,000 years of time in mere seconds. It sets you up for a unique DVD experience, yet the plot that unfolds is quite generic.
Six coupling campers drive to a remote area of the outback for a hike. As soon as they pitch tents, one of the guys pitches a different kind of tent, and any horror fan knows that making time for nookie is like catching the quick train to Deadsville. Sure enough, a seemingly innocent skinny dip by the blonde Mel (Krew Boylan) ends with her contracting some ancient virus, turning her feral.
The rest of her pals don’t stand a chance, do they? One by one, down they go, which is the route always traveled by these things. Only the climax, in which our heroine (Zoe Tuckwell-Smith) encounters … well, something — H.P. Lovecraft enthusiasts will dig it — does “Primal” offer anything outside of your readymade expectations.
Writer/director Josh Reed’s thriller is slick, but it could use a little more of that last-act imagination and a lot less of Mel leaping around like she were a rabid panther from “The Emerald Jungle” or something. “Primal’ is heads above the last slice of “Ozploitation” I saw (the wretched “Road Kill”), but as “Not Quite Hollywood,” the recent manic documentary on Aussie filmmaking, demonstrates, it could have been a lot crazier. —Rod Lott