After a solid, splattery start with Hatchet 2, FrightFest ’10 has maintained momentum with Ozploitation gnash-‘em-up Primal.
True to its title, Josh Reed’s film is visceral, uncomplicated and, in certain aspects, a little bit primitive.
A kind of Picked-Off At Hanging Rock, it opens eerily 12,000 years ago with a caveman attempting to paint a message that There’s Something Out There.
Alas, he ends up decorating the rock face in his own vein juice.
Cut to the present day, and six friends on a road trip that’ll take them to the scene of the ancient crime.
Cleaving to teen horror tradition, it’s the most over-sexed member of the group who’s the first to suffer.
After an unwise dip in infected waters, Mel (Krew Boylan) turns feverish, develops some alarming dental work and discovers a taste for human flesh.
The ensuing carnage plays like a mash-up between The Ruins and Cabin Fever, braiding the moral agonies of the former (what do you do when your mates become possessed by primeval forces?) with the latter’s knowing humour.
Downsizing the fear factor, Krew Boylan is sadly no Andy Serkis when it comes to apeing feral physicality.
But she and the rest of the cast go at their roles with gusto. Standouts are angry alpha male Wil Traval and Rebekah Foord as the sensible one who ends up drawing on hidden reserves of pluck.
Only in the end stretch does the grue lose its grip, the film attempting some slithery FX unfortunately beyond its pay grade.
Producer/director/co-writer Josh Reed is clearly one to watch, though – what’s not to like about a guy who titled an earlier short Ratticus Pistofficus?