Thursday, 7 April 2011



Despite the title (which is spelled differently anyway), this is nothing to do with ITV's engagingly daft CGI dino nonsense. Rather, it's an occasionally nasty-edged anthropological survival horror that riffs blatantly on Predator, before veering into Green Hell Italo-cannibal territory for the finale, and even has a bit of The Descent thrown in. The end result is an entertaining genre grab-bag, and thankfully doesn't fill the cast out with despicable sex-obsessed teens, misogynistic oafs and drug dealing scumbags.

Primevil actually starts with some anthropo- and archaeo-logists digging around on a remote uncharted island, coming across a skull that might well be not just the Missing Link itself, but a discovery that could put the whole evolution/creationism debate to bed forever. So The Church - yes, it's those fiendish Catholics again! - hires mercenary Lance Henriksen to ensure the research never gets out. Meanwhile, a trio of wannabe telecomms tycoons and a couple of girlfriends crash their luxury yacht onto the same uncharted island but find very quickly that They Are Not Alone.... There's something out there, swinging through the trees, they have a primitive version of the Predator's heat-vision and are merciless, although they look like the Gelfs out of Red Dwarf.

Whlie there's a reasonable amount of blood and gore (the DVD has a 15 certificate) it's in the final reels, when the film appears to take on the photographic look of a 70s Italian jungle movie of the Deep River Savages or Cannibal Holocaust ilk, and the Final Girl is left to face the jungle tribe, that it looks like a slightly more interesting film was trying to get out of the formulaic running-around-the-jungle setup. There are some nicely pleasing moments, such as the bikini-clad back-to-nature hippy bimbo running away in terror from all the nature around her (and being grabbed by the hominids for her trouble), and the somewhat unusual conclusion detailing the sole survivor's departure from the island. For some reason, though, having got Lance Henriksen in there, they don't do very much with him: he only has a few lines of dialogue and a quick death scene.

Primevil isn't great, but it's certainly better than I was expecting: well shot, a generally agreeable bunch of characters and it isn't ever dull - after mediocrity, cinema's most heinous sin. Most of its ideas are filched from other, better films (the heroine trapped in the darkness of the monsters' lair with one of those green shakey-glow sticks is straight out of The Descent) but as a mix-and-match horror rental it's perfectly acceptable if unspectacular fare. (NB: Ignore the gun-toting chick on the artwork: it's an image that never shows up in the film.)


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