Primal Rage; Action, Horror Bigfoot Concept A Refreshing Change
Primal Rage Film Details
Original Title: Primal Rage: The Legend of Oh-Mah
Director: Patrick Magee
Writer: Jay Lee, Patrick Magee
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Release Format: Cinemas VOD
Running Time: 1h 46min
Social Networking: Facebook
A newly reunited young couple’s drive through the Pacific Northwest turns into a nightmare as they are forced to face nature, unsavory locals, and a monstrous creature, known to the Native Americans as Oh-Mah.
Bigfoot stomps once again into the antagonistic spotlight. In Primal Rage notable effects artist Patrick Magee in his directorial debut has reimagined the cryptozoological creature. As Horror enthusiasts, we have seen our fair share of bigfoot films over the years. Although the characters and narrative may change the backdrop and the creature concept retains its traditional aesthetic. In these films, the technique applied to bring Bigfoot to life settle into two categories; CGI or practical effects. Then there’s the question of quality in these visuals and the fear factor projected from the end product. That’s a topic for another time.
Primal Rage will release in a limited run for a one evening engagement with a distribution across VOD to follow. In addition to my review of Magee’s film I also had the pleasure to interview actor Marshal Hilton. Hilton portrays the role of B. D. in Primal Rage. Be sure to follow the links provided for more information on the one-night event screening of Primal Rage and my Interview with Marshal Hilton.
Primal Rage has a well-established narrative that combines the Bigfoot cryptozoological record with Native American folklore. I find the practice of Native American mythology and/or spiritual context in Horror films to be cringe-worthy. Over the years screenwriters have exercised a stereotype aesthetic to this narrative material. The notion of Native American sacred burial grounds or hostile spirits as the alienating force has developed into a tired regurgitated story detail. Put these approaches to rest already.
Yet, in Primal Rage the writing team accommodated Native American influence into the storyline with success. There are many highlights exhibited here that diverge from other films using the same narrative course. In Primal Rage, viewers will not find exposure to stereotyped personalities. Actor Eloy Casados portrays an elder Sheriff with an inner conflict pining his modern principles with his Native American commitments. Serving as the voice of reason is Actor Justin Rain depicting in his role as the Deputy. Rain’s portrayal of a young man in harmony with his ancestral roots has strength and conviction. These actors delivered a refreshing expression on Native Americans in a Horror themed film.
I discovered the plot of Primal Rage to be most enjoyable and authentic. Each of the characters had substance thus causing each entity to be relatable within the story context. Omitting cliches and ludicrous dialogue amazed me, I was expected to become bombarded with the like. These offenses are standard in Bigfoot-themed films but for Primal Rage the writing team chose the opportunity to draw innovation into the narrative framework. Each ACT had an effective progression of events, a rhythm that produced an infrastructure for rich story development. Magee’s film stands in a class by itself. He reinvents the expression and transmission of an exhausted Horror concept.
Related Article: Primal Rage Trailer First Impressions
If there is one feature to Primal Rage that captures the spotlight it will have to be the practical effects. Magee does exceptional work on addressing a gore-rich presentation. From the butchered cadaver to the gut-wrenching death scenes each prosthetic and design become creations of living art.
Yet, the creature concept is the standout feature in Primal Rage. Unlike other Bigfoot films, Magee opted to reformulate the gargantuan hairy primate. In Magee’s film, Sasquatch becomes re-imagined as a Hunter, Killer complete with a battle mask.
Related Article: Marshal Hilton Exclusive Interview
Out of the many commendations Primal Rage does has its downfalls. There are far too many allusions to Director John McTiernan’s 1987 Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller. There is a subtle line between paying a tribute to a film and regurgitating an idea. For Primal Rage the latter is the proper offense. There’s only one concept splintered from McTiernan’s film that performs well in Magee’s film. Magee takes the boring elusive, territorial cryptid and instead adopts an image of a badass hunter, killer. Yet, Magee takes a gamble by recreating scenes and actions based on another film. Is this a construct of creative reverse engineering, an homage to influential work or a borrowed idea? The final judgment is up to the viewer to decide.
Primal Rage is an extraordinary interpretation of an overwrought concept. The acting is solid and so is the plot. The practical effects developed into the star of this production. Yet, it is the copy/paste of a previous and noteworthy science fiction work of art that undermines this impressive production.