February 28, 2018 Primal Rage (Movie Review)
Bigfoot sightings and evidentiary claims have been made for decades upon decades, and in countries spanning all across the world. Most descriptions of the giant, ape-like creature have always painted it as an obscure, mysterious, yet non-threatening and somewhat even benign beast. There has always been this “he is more scared of you than you are of him” mentality associated with this cryptic being, but as this brilliant Creature Feature will show, there is far more to this “gentle giant” than some people are capable of comprehending; a primal rage burning deep within it that makes it just as dangerous and unpredictable as any other wild animal.
Primal Rage, aka PRIMAL RAGE – Bigfoot Reborn, [originally titled Primal Rage: The Legend of Oh-Mah] is the incredibly impressive American Indie Horror film that premiered in theaters nationwide, for one day only, on February 27th via Blue Fox Entertainment. It is the directorial debut of Special Effects Master/Make-up Artist/Creature Creator, Patrick Magee – known for his work on such films as 2002’s Spiderman and 2004’s AVP: Alien vs. Predator – and written by both Magee and Writer/Director/Cinematographer Jay Lee (Zombie Strippers 2008, Alyce Kills 2011). If not for their well-developed storyline and strong, creative direction, as well as the financial contributions made through a Kickstarter account established by Magee roughly five years ago, this film would not have even been possible.
In addition to the many individuals responsible for the creation of this film, it was the cast that really brought life to it. The film featured young and talented, yet still wet behind the ears Actress Casey Gagliardi (Tunes to Work By series 2017, Bond of Justice: Kizuna 2018) as Alex; Andrew Joseph Montgomery making his acting debut as her newly released ex-convict husband, Max; Eloy Casados (Hollywood Homicide 2003, Bridesmaids 2011) as the Sheriff; Justin Rain (Fear the Walking Dead series 2017, Mohawk 2017) as his Deputy; and Marshal Hilton (Stressed to Kill 2016, I Am Alone 2015) as the ill-bred hick, B.D.; amongst a few others.
On top of having a cast filled with such raw, untapped potential, one of the more compelling components in this film was the story’s originality and unpredictability. When it comes to Creature Features and Environmental Horror, it is typically commonplace to establish a narrative that involves the characters’ objective to enter the wilderness for the sake of discovering that which ultimately becomes the cause of their demise. In this movie though, viewers are more invested in their survival because [A] they have more at stake to lose, and [B] they did not intentionally go looking for trouble.
This story focuses on a beautiful young woman named Alex (Gagliardi) who has embarked on quite the journey in order to pick up her recently released husband, Max (Montgomery), from prison. While venturing back home, a mishap on the long stretch of isolated road running through the dense Redwood Forest leaves the young couple struggling to survive both Mother Nature and the legendary beasts contained within. Viewers will appreciate the fact that Bigfoot’s history is rooted in Native American folklore, which not only voided the more touristy aspect of Sasquatch, but also brought an authenticity and believability to it.
The most powerful element in this film is without a doubt Lee’s spellbinding cinematography. The intro superbly set the tone for the movie with its long tracking shots through the woods, during Alex’s isolated drive, set to the backdrop of an eerie score that really builds intensity the deeper she ventures into the wilderness. Eventually, the fog starts to roll in, it begins to drizzle, and the music grows more ominous. The filming really fosters an atmosphere of fear and tension throughout, that ultimately turns to apprehension and paranoia. This leaves viewers on the edges of their seats waiting for scares around every corner, yet never receiving them until their patience has worn thin and they have dropped their guards.
The special effects and make-up were handled with such precision and care that viewers cannot help but be absorbed and horrified. The gore was unsettling, the deaths were disturbing, and Bigfoot was brilliantly developed – as a unique amalgamation of myth, Mother Nature, and mammal – and kept elusive until his unforgettable, unforeseeable reveal that will have viewers’ hearts pounding from their chests. Other noteworthy aspects were the film’s flawless pacing, character dynamics and development, and dialogue that greatly utilized witty banter to break up some of the frightening intensity; as well as the fascinating exploration into Native American rituals, ceremonies, legends, and mysticism.
With a cast full of potential, commanding cinematography, strong special effects, a terrifying creature, and an original, innovative storyline that sheds the conventional route most Environmental Horror films take, CrypticRock gives Primal Rage 4 out of 5 stars.