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Review: PRIMAL RAGE (2018)

Bigfoot is usually portrayed as a very big, but not very intelligent creature. An overgrown ape that’s all brawn and no brain. However, many Native American folktales talk about primitive but recognizably human creatures living deep in the forests, something more Neanderthal than primate. PRIMAL RAGE taps into these legends, in particular, that of the Oh-Mah, with interesting, if patchy results.

Max (Andrew Joseph Montgomery) and Ashley (Casey Gagliardi) are trying to reconnect after Max has spent a year in prison for an unnamed offense. Almost immediately, we’re made aware of a rash of missing persons.  That and the fact that at least some people believe the Oh-Mah are to blame. They also meet several of the locals, most of whom could politely be described as inbred rednecks.

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It doesn’t take much longer for the couple to run into trouble. They have a close encounter with one of the creature’s victims when he runs in front of their SUV. Of course, the big guy himself is right behind him. Lost in the woods, they stumble across a band of hunters who are, of course, the rednecks from earlier. But in the best movie tradition, the big hairy dude has a crush on the blonde Ashley and isn’t going to let anyone keep them apart.

Working from a script he co-wrote with frequent director Jay Lee (ALYCE KILLS, HOUSE WITH 100 EYES) first time director Patrick Magee gives the Bigfoot genre a fresh and savage twist. Oh-Mah is intelligent enough to fashion crude but effective weapons, stone knives, axes, and even a primitive bow. And of course, he can still rip his victims apart with his bare hands if the need and/or mood calls for it.

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Magee’s main gig is in the effects department, and he puts that to good use here.  PRIMAL RAGE is filled with brutal, gory kills rendered with excellent practical effects. The kills here are on par with those in ABOMINABLE, one of a few things the films share. Throats are slashed, eyes are gouged and innards ripped out. The film really delivers here.

Unfortunately, most of the rest of PRIMAL RAGE is weak. The characters seem to go from stupid decisions to stupid decisions, though there’s not a brain cell between them. The film’s use of Native American myth and culture is a nice touch. Unfortunately, nothing is really done with it, making it more of a wasted opportunity.

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But, if you can deal with cliché characters and some seriously inane plotting, PRIMAL RAGE does deliver some suspense, jumps and plenty of gore. It’s an ok film, but it should have been a much better one.

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