Cinepocalypse 2017: Primal Rage (2017 - dir. Patrick Magee)
REVIEW BY PATRICK RIPOLL (TRACKS OF THE DAMNED)
The 1970's were a ripe time of national distrust and cynicism in America, between Watergate, inflation, and Vietnam dragging on, and perhaps it was that anxiety that lead people to search for something innocent. Pure. Something mythical that sent the imagination soaring. Bigfoot was a legitimate pop culture phenomenon in the 70'd and every year there were more and more Bigfoot movies. In 2017, a year where people check the news with a trepidation usually reserved for the results of STD tests, perhaps we can find similar comfort in films about a huge hairy ape man lumbering around the Pacific Northwest. There is nothing, however, pure and innocent about Bigfoot in Primal Rage.
A PARTIAL LIST OF INSANE THINGS BIGFOOT DOES IN THIS MOVIE:
-Pelt an SUV with rocks like Nolan Ryan in '73.
-Watch a woman poop and then steal the poop.
-Use a knife he made(??) to cut off a lock of a woman's hair.
-Sneak around comedically popping from behind trees like Beetlejuice.
-Murder someone in the neck with a bow and arrow he made(???)
-Run around like a ninja slicing people's throats(!?!?!?!?)
-Scream so loud his lips flip inside out
-Wear a sick mask made of bark
-Carry around a makeshift tomahawk that he uses to cut off people's heads which he then immediately discards because fuck you, Bigfoot doesn't need your stupid head
Primal Rage follows Ashley (Casey Gagliardi) and her recently paroled husband Max (Andrew Joseph Montgomery) after their car crashes in the wilderness, trying to survive and make it back to civilization. They encounter a group of awful redneck hunters. This is important primarily because you kinda like Ashley and Max, but still want to see Bigfoot go apeshit on some people. And apeshit he goes. Primal Rage's Bigfoot (known by the local Native American tribes as Oh-Mah) is somewhere in between Slyvester Stallone's Rambo and Karlheinz Böhm in Peeping Tom. He's a sex-pervert super-soldier with an arsenal of weapons and a desire to mutilate. Primal Rage is pretty awesome, and the amazing special effects are a crucial part of it. It's been a bit since we've seen kills this impressive and, vitally, this well-lit. Skulls crunch, limbs tear, faces pull-apart, all in broad daylight via the glory of practical effects. Bigfoot looks and moves very convincingly as well and his face is expressive. Most Bigfoot films since the 1970's lean into the creature's mysterious nature and hide him in shadows and quick glances. Primal Rage is proud of it's creature and proudly puts it front and center.
There's a sexual assault scene that's unpleasant and adds nothing to the film, as well as some oh-so-spooky Native American mysticism that is perhaps in poor taste. So be it. Primal Rage is not a tasteful film. But it is an old-fashioned great time at the movies.