Primeval (2007)


For a trip to the theater, a couple of movie tickets and some refreshments, you're dropping a pretty penny when you visit the multiplexes. When I saw Michael Katelman's "Primeval" in the theaters, I came out feeling a little bit gypped. The thing is essentially a straight-faced version of a Sci-Fi Channel Original, and there's definitely some campy fun to be found ... but worthy of a 40-dollar investment? No freaking way.

Which is why so many B-movies find a comfortable home on DVD: For three or four bucks, "Primeval" is certainly watchable enough ... provided you have a big soft spot for "nature run amok" thrillers, and you don't mind hearing the same old story just one more time. Either way, the flick promises numerous crocodile attacks, and at least it delivers 'em.

Dominic Purcell plays a cynical news producer who made a serious mistake and must now make amends by traveling to Burundi, East Africa. The poor guy not only has to get some footage of a giant croc that's eaten hundreds of people ... but his boss wants him to capture the dang thing, too! (Why the surly reporter doesn't just quit his job is anyone's guess.)

So it's off to Burundi with surly producer, sexy reporter, pompous guide, grizzled hunter, and smart-mouth comic relief along for the ride.

Don't worry. The cute dog and the sympathetic kid are waiting in Burundi for us. And once all the stock characters and cliched conversations are over with ... it's croc huntin' time! (Good thing for us the animal does most of the hunting.) Pay no mind to the dry little subplot about a local warlord whose bloodthirsty methods helped breed the massive monster; it's there only to provide an answer to the question "When the croc flips out and starts eating people, why don't they all just LEAVE?!?!?"

To its credit, the flick does balance chomp-happy horror with some surprisingly kinetic action scenes, but there's also the sloppy editing, the absent-minded acting performances, and the choppy pacing to consider. As it stands "Primeval" is a perfectly watchable little monster movie, one that earns a few points for trying to inject some topical issues into the equation -- but loses several more for sloppy cutting and some really weak CGI.

The DVD comes with a rather dry audio commentary (with director Michael Katelman and visual effects producer Paul Linden. Hardcore fans of the flick may enjoy the track; others need not apply. There's also a 10-minute featurette on the creation of the digital crocodile, plus three deleted scenes that come with non-optional audio commentary. A perfectly passable Netflix rental, but not much more than that.