Horror Club: Primal Rage
Last week at Soulless, we took a look at the over-the-top, outrageous, campy indie flick Cherokee Creek which was a fun and ridiculous take on the Bigfoot horror subgenre. For this weeks Horror Club, we figured we'd get a little more serious with our Bigfoot movie selection; introducing Primal Rage: Bigfoot Reborn, 2018's Bigfoot horror flick which blends the terrifying urban legend with Native American lore. Written by Patrick Magee and Jay Lee, and directed by Magee, it's a surprisingly kick-ass film with plenty of on-screen time for the beast himself, plenty of blood and gore, some pretty wicked kill scenes and some other unexpected yet useful elements that really pull Primal Rage together to make it worth your time. If cheesy flicks like Cherokee Creek aren't really your thing, and you're seeking a (somewhat) more serious Bigfoot horror to fill that void in your heart, Primal Rage may be just the thing you're looking for.
Primal Rage essentially has two stories to tell throughout its play time; the majority of the film follows the story of lovely couple Max (Andrew Joseph Montgomery) and Ashley (Casey Gagliardi) who, after some unfortunate events, find themselves washed miles down the river from where their car is parked, so they're forced to spend the night in the woods as Max recovers from his painful, wet ride down the river. The couple attempts to follow the river back up to the road, but along the way they run into a group of local hunters who don't take kindly to outsiders, and they spend a good amount of time messing with Max and giving the couple a hard time. Before long, shit hits the fan as the group of hunters begin to get picked off one-by-one by none other than Bigfoot himself. The menacing, dreadful beast has the height and mass to make him as terrifying as the urban legend tells us he is, but Primal Rages' version of the legend has its own little twist on his look (and presence): Sasquatch has some pretty cool looking armor (which appears to be made from bark) on his legs as well as a "mask" which covers a good portion of his face. It's a very tribal look for Bigfoot and its pretty horrifying, but it also leads into the next story line told in the film: that of the Native American folklore surrounding the creature. The sheriff and his deputy are both of Native American descent, and after some hesitation from the Sheriff, the deputy manages to convince the Sheriff to partake in a Native ritual (which involves peyote) to help open his mind to help them find the missing couple, who are still missing out in the woods. This leads the Sheriff to the local "Whispering Woman" who helps lend some Native American knowledge about Bigfoot to the police in an attempt to help them from putting an end to the beasts' reign of terror once and for all. Will Max and Ashley make it out of the woods in one piece? Does the Sheriff heed the advice of the Whispering Woman to help find the missing couple?! Or does Bigfoot consume all of them whole, leaving nothing but bloodshed and bone in its wake?
While Primal Rage definitely has some pretty out there elements, it definitely takes its self a lot more serious than some of the other Bigfoot spoof films out there - but that's not to say its a super serious, "real" film either. Take Bigfoot, for example - he dons armor, a face mask, shoots arrows, and is pretty highly intelligent - you know, for a wild creature. But remove all of that and he's still just good ol' Bigfoot - a savage, angry, blood hungry beast - and you're in his fucking territory. Like I mentioned, Bigfoot gets more than enough on screen time, so there's definitely plenty to enjoy with the creature on screen, and for the most part its all awesome. He's an absolutely brutal being - and the kills that he delivers to the unsuspecting victims are equally as brutal: from easy arrow-to-the-face shots to crushing heads to pieces to even ripping some dudes jaw apart, Sasquatch doesn't hold fucking back, and he doesn't mind getting dirty. Overall, I was pretty stoked on the general display of Bigfoot, the way he moved and acted, it was all pretty enjoyable and entertaining. As far as max and Ashley go, there's nothing really too out-of-the-ordinary special about the pair besides their background story (and why they were even in that area anyway) but besides that, there's no real emotional attachment to the characters - however, the back-and-forth between the two, along with their us-vs-them attitude, is pretty fun to watch and there's definitely some light humor between the two that's fun. Max and Ashley's real time to shine is when they are in the midst of Bigfoot's destruction - namely, when Ashley gets "kidnapped" by Bigfoot and dragged to his bone-filled dwelling in a mountain/cave. Ashley's desire to break the fuck out and find her husband is awesome, and alongside her man, their characters become more admirable and enjoyable on screen.
When it comes to the Sheriff (played by Eloy Casados) and the deputy (Justin Rain), these guys add that extra little bit of awesome to the story as they delved deeper into their Native American culture to help aid them in finding Max and Ashley. It is because of them that we are introduced to the local lore behind Bigfoot, known to them as the Oh-Mah. Without giving too much away about it, the lore takes the well-known story about Bigfoot and pumps it full of trippy, spiritual goodness that really elevates the story line to a twist that I really didn't see coming, and didn't totally hate. A great twist that totally changes the story and how the ending plays out - it's one you'll need to see to really appreciate. But overall, Primal Rage does a pretty excellent job breathing fresh life into the Bigfoot story line of movies, and it does it in a shockingly bloody way. The film doesn't hide any of the blood or gore that would come from a take-down from a beast of Bigfoot's size, and that's perfect - this is a type of movie where you expect to see some pretty wicked kills, and on that front Primal Rage certainly delivers. If you're looking for a fresh yet brutally bloody take on the urban legend of Sasquatch - and the over-the-top fun factor of films like Cherokee Creek doesn't do it for you - I'm confident Primal Rage will keep you entertained for the hour and a half run time. Don't expect a groundbreaking, instant cult classic, but don't expect trash either - Primal Rage is a good watch that should satisfy your biggest Bigfoot desires.