Primal Rage is a creature feature, but it’s light on what the film is selling. For a special effects artist making his directorial debut, writer/director Patrick Magee often forgets about his film’s central beast.
The film’s premise sounds like foolproof genre fodder: a reunion between a woman, Ashley (Casey Gagliardi), and her ex-con boyfriend, Maxwell (Andrew Joseph Montgomery), is compromised when they’re suddenly abandoned in the woods and must fight for survival against a violent “being” stalking their every move. While lost, the couple teams up with a band of questionable – yet dopey – backwoods hunters who are picked off one-by-one by the lurking creature. Meanwhile, a local Sheriff (the late Elroy Casados, in one of his final roles) tries to solve the mystery behind multiple disappearances.
Primal Rage is a sporadically entertaining horror movie that’s, unfortunately, blind to its own potential. Instead of sticking with a straightforward formula, the script (written by Magee and editor/cinematographer Jay Lee) piles on heavy layers of meandering, shallow comedy to lighten up the dynamic between the couple and the hunters, as well as uninteresting lore to develop the beast into something more than just a blood-thirsty monster. I appreciate the effort, but Primal Rage needed to play towards its strengths; especially considering the filmmaker’s original expertise is the best part of this movie.
Though the practical effects are awesome, there’s simply not enough of them to balance out the toothless storytelling.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie