Schlock Shelf – Primeval
Primeval is a film about a bloodthirsty alligator, based on a supposed true event. The giant alligator is wreaking havoc throughout Africa, and the villagers are getting scared to go in the water, despite it being their life source. Some American journalists are sent over to do a story on it and to capture the alligator, but the beast isn’t having it.
The film starts with a woman investigating a handful of men buried after an execution-style killing in a poverty-ridden country in Africa. She’s trying to figure out what happened to them. She puts her shovel in the ground for the first scoop of dirt and she hits something that bursts up out of the ground and attacks her. The crocodile is a legend in the country, and it is named Gustave. A news journalist in NYC is sent into the country (a warzone) to get the story. The guy’s boss thinks he’ll capture the crocodile in time for sweeps week and it’s all settled, despite the fact this has been going for years and no one has been able to even come close to capturing it.
The journalist (a real d-bag), his partner, and a cameraman are sent into the country to investigate. They have the help of an American tracker who’s been living in Africa trying to protect the crocodile. The hope is they can capture this giant (maybe up to 30 feet long) crocodile alive. They’ve got all kinds of electronics for tracking it and computers for filming it. It’s a pretty serious operation. They have to contend with local politics and customs and avoid the notice of the local warlord/bad guy, though that clearly isn’t going to happen.
There are some close calls that try to add some suspense to this film, but it only helps a small amount. The local bad guys (the warlord’s men) are doing what they can to disrupt the Americans’ operation. Gustave shows he can manhandle the flimsy giant cage they built to capture him, so they know that’s useless.
At one point, they’re all stranded on what looks like a dock in the middle of the river complaining about how it’s appropriate that they die like this and they’re helpless. Then a helicopter shows up and they think it’s a rescue team. So they literally climb off the deck into the waist deep water and walk to the shore. Really? I thought you were stranded and going to die. Moronic. The helicopter is filled with bad guys with guns and they’re looking to kill the Americans.
The CGI in this movie is pretty awful (as you’d expect from an unheard-of scary giant animal movie that appears to be made for the SyFy channel.) The acting in the film isn’t bad, but the action just wasn’t up to snuff. Yes, the alligator eats a bunch of people on film and there are tons of “running through the reeds on the river bank” scenes, but sadly, there just isn’t enough action to hold the viewer’s attention. I kept waiting for the film to be over. Some of the perspective is off, as well. At one point, a Range Rover hits the alligator, yet the alligator reappears and is like three times the size of it. This film isn’t even worth a bad movie night, sadly. Next!
(2 out of 5 fus)