Horror review: Primeval



In 2004, PBS produced a one-hour documentary called Capturing the Killer Croc, about scientists attempting to capture and relocate a nine-metre crocodile dubbed Gustave that had apparently killed more than 200 people near a river in Burundi, Africa. Even though the film didn’t actually live up to its title, since the croc wasn’t captured, it made for enthralling viewing; in other words, it had the exact opposite effect of Primeval, which is one of crummiest killer-beast flicks of all time.

It actually makes the B.C.–shot giant-croc debacle Lake Placid look half-decent, but it sure the hell wasn’t.

As this time waster kicks off, a trio of American TV journalists (Dominic Purcell of Prison Break, Orlando Jones of Mad TV, and Brooke Langton of the hot bod and pretty face) are assigned to travel to Burundi and capture Gustave both on film and in a huge honkin’ cage that takes about 20 people to carry. Predictably, Langton’s there to traipse around in a skimpy white tank top, Purcell to look rugged, and Jones to provide comic relief.

But what kind of relief do you get when Jones tells an orphaned African kid: “If I have to stick you up my ass to get you through customs, I’ll get you to America.”

As if the news team weren’t challenged enough with trying to bring Gustave back alive, they have to deal with an ongoing civil war, in which executions and mass graves are commonplace. Not only that, but B-movie icon Jurgen Prochnow shows up to play the part of a weirdo big-game hunter, and he puts Jaws’ Robert Shaw to shame with his psychotic revenge quest.

Cinematographer Edward J. Pei delivers some stunning footage of the barren African landscape, but that’s where the kudos end. The drop-dead-dumb screenplay is by Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, who had their hands in the universally maligned Catwoman script. Their idea of a clever plot turn is to have a murderous Burundi warlord doused in the stinky urine-and-guts mixture Prochnow’s poacher has concocted to use as crocodile bait.

Gee, do ya think Gustave’s gonna want a taste of him?

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