I know that the advertisements don’t want to tell you, but Primeval is a monster movie with a giant crocodile playing the role of the creature. It’s named Gustave. Those of you who care about giant crocodiles will note that “Gustave” is also the name of a giant croc in real life. Yes, Primeval claims that it’s based on real events, although the only thing that remains consistent is the crocodile existing and the fact that civil war went on in the country of Burundi.
That is the country where Primeval is set in, and the film makes certain that you know you’re in Africa, but the specific country doesn’t particularly matter. That’s part of the point. See, interlaced in between the different monster moments is an attempt at making a political point about how the Western world doesn’t care about anything that happens in Africa. It does this by having the bad guys (a tribe of Africans) try to kill our crew of news reporters because the reporters filmed them doing bad things like killing other people. Yeah. That’s a great way to make your point, film.
Our first scene shows a white news reporter doing a story about something that I can’t even remember. It doesn’t matter. She gets eaten by Gustave. That is what brings the world’s attention to it. Apparently, it had already killed hundreds of people beforehand, but it took the death of this one news reporter for anyone to care. I suppose that’s another way that the film tries to get its message across, but it doesn’t linger at that point at all. Instead, we cut to the news reporters that we’ll follow for the next 90 minutes. They want to capture the giant croc because they think it’ll be fun or something.
None of these characters resonated. In fact, I can’t even remember any of their names or if they had real motivations for coming or even distinct personalities. The leader is Dominic Purcell, and his cameraman is Orlando Jones. There’s a woman (Brooke Langton) as well. Oh, and there was a dog who sits on a raft for most of the time, which I figured would be a good way to lure a crocodile near the encampment, but the locals think that’s a good way to keep it away.
I’ll leave you here except to give you a description of the crocodile, Gustave. It actually looks pretty good whenever we get to see it, although that’s very infrequent and that’s probably for the best. After all, if we saw it more, it might become even less frightening. When it appeared, I sighed, because I just didn’t care whatsoever whether or not it won. In some cases, I hoped it would eat everyone just so that the movie would end.
One thing that is kind of nice about Primeval is that its killer is nondiscriminatory. Good guys (the reporters), bad guys (the natives) — it didn’t matter when it came to this croc. There’s a point in the film where Gustave actually saves a woman from being raped. Actually, if they’d just stay away from the water (although we later find out that Gustave is quite agile on land), the biggest threat of the film would be the natives and their guns.
For most of the film, we go from boring scene to another boring scene. I had to think back and remember an action/horror film where I was so bored. There is nothing in this film that excited me in the least. To call myself uninterested would be understating things to a large extent. I could have fallen asleep during Primeval and probably have taken the same amount from it. Oh, but I would have missed a couple of people being eaten by a giant crocodile. Well, that would have been just terrible, wouldn’t it?
I can’t even get excited about getting to tell you how much I disliked Primeval in this review. It filled me with complete apathy, and I feel as if the only worse thing you could do would be to watch it in slow motion. This would be worse for a couple of reasons. First, it would mean that you’d have to endure this absolutely terrible film for more of your life. Second, you’d see more of the crocodile, which would probably look even worse the longer you see it. Finally, you’d probably fall asleep, which, if it isn’t that time of the day for you, would probably not be terribly productive.
The only other thing I should mention is that the final two title cards of the film are correct. Gustave still exists and still roams around some rivers. Second, the civil war in Burundi eventually ended. I suppose I should give credit where credit is due: These two things are fact, and aren’t made up just to create a film. Granted, the civil war fact card doesn’t have much impact in regards to the film, making it superfluous information, but, hey, credit for trying, right? Oh, and the crocodile isn’t even the main villain in a film about a giant crocodile. So the other fact is less related than it should be as well. What a missed opportunity this film was.
Primeval is a travesty. It is a waste of time, a waste of film, and a waste of money. It tries to bring us a social commentary, but it fails at doing that because of how terribly executed everything in the film was. I had difficulty remembering a film that bored me as much as this one did. It’s one noteworthy feature is that its killer will kill everyone, not just the good guys. But one promising idea in a slew of bad ones does not make a watchable film. This isn’t even a film that’s bad enough to laugh at.