This article is missing information about the film's production, and theatrical/home media releases.(October 2018)
|Directed by||Michael Katleman|
|Produced by||Gavin Polone|
|Written by||John Brancato|
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Cinematography||Edward J. Pei|
|Edited by||Gabriel Wrye|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$15.3 million|
Primeval is a 2007 American horror film directed by Michael Katleman and starring Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones, and Brooke Langton. It's partially inspired by the true story of Gustave, a 20 foot (6.1 m), 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg; 1.00 t) giant, man-eating crocodile in Burundi, and centers on a team of American journalists who travel to Burundi to film and capture a gigantic, man-eating crocodile.
The film was released on January 12, 2007 to mostly negative reviews from both audience members and critics.
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In Burundi, a British forensic anthropologist is examining the corpses in a mass grave, claiming they were all killed in an identical manner. When the woman digs her shovel into what she believes is another grave, an unseen creature attacks, and violently drags her into the river. The UN soldiers accompanying her fire into the water, but only her partially devoured corpse floats to the surface, before being devoured.
In a New York City newsroom, television journalist Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell) is assigned by his boss, Roger (Patrick Lyster), to travel to Burundi with Aviva Masters (Brooke Langton), a reporter who deals with animal stories and has become interested in Gustave, a gigantic, fierce crocodile known to have killed hundreds of people in Africa, over the years. With the killing of the anthropologist, Gustave is suddenly a story of interest to the world. Tim doesn't want to go, knowing that Burundi is a war zone, but he has little choice, since one of his stories turns out to have been based on falsified evidence. Tim and Aviva are accompanied to Burundi by Tim's cameraman and friend, Steven Johnson (Orlando Jones) and herpetologist Matt Collins (Gideon Emery), who is intent on capturing Gustave alive.
At the airport in Bujumbura they are met by a government official nicknamed Harry (Dumisani Mbebe), who tries to delay their departure by warning them of unrest in the bush, caused by a dangerous warlord who has nicknamed himself "Little Gustave." Tim manages to overrule Harry by faking a call to Roger, and the team departs the next day, accompanied by two soldiers. When the party reach the village where the last attack occurred, they meet their guide, a licensed hunter named Jacob (Jürgen Prochnow), and are blessed by the local shaman. The friendly villagers later assemble a steel cage in order to capture the crocodile and take it to a nearby swamp. The first attempt to capture Gustave, by placing a goat as bait, fails, but Matt manages to shoot a tracking dart into it.
In the next attempt, Jojo (Gabriel Malema), a teenage villager who helped set up the cage, uses himself as live bait to capture Gustave. The beast arrives, and tries to devour him, but disappears, as Tim, Matt, and Steven race to rescue him. Meanwhile, Aviva catches one of the soldier escorts stealing money from a tent. The soldier knocks her down and attempts to rape her, but Gustave arrives and kills him. Aviva escapes unharmed, and catches up with the others. The remaining guard relays over his radio that the Americans videotaped the shaman's execution. Just as the group realizes that the soldiers work for Little Gustave, the remaining guards, believing Jacob videotaped the evidence, wounds him; Jojo intervenes, and shoots them. While Jacob's wound is being treated, Gustave attacks the group. Jacob recalls the story of how his wife, Ona, was killed by Gustave, and that he swore revenge. Jacob produces a grenade, and detonates it as Gustave grabs him in his jaws, and devours him, but the explosion fails to kill the crocodile.
The next day, a helicopter arrives to airlift the survivors, but a truck arrives with two of Little Gustave's men, who fire a rocket at the helicopter. The group ducks, except for Matt, who runs after the helicopter to stop it from flying away. Matt is rammed by the truck and shot to death by the younger of the two militia members, a teenager performing what is clearly his first execution. When the driver of the truck notices the rest of the group, Tim yells for them to split up. In the ensuing chase, both of Little Gustave's men are killed: when the truck crashes into the river, the teenager is thrown out and dies on impact, while the driver is shot by Aviva when he tries to strangle Tim to death.
Steven stumbles upon Gustave and struggles to escape. While Aviva stays with the injured Jojo, Tim goes to look for Steven, but finds only his camera. As they are waiting for help, Tim remarks to Aviva that he now understands the shaman's earlier words that "we make our own monsters." Matt had earlier told the group that crocodiles frequently feed on carrion, and there is no limit to how large they can grow, given enough sustenance; it is the bodies from the civil war, floating in the river, that have given Gustave a taste for human flesh, and allowed him to reach such a gargantuan size, as the years go by.
Harry arrives in a Range Rover, but Tim realizes that he is actually Little Gustave upon discovering the shaman's necklace in his possession, who wants the video evidence. Tim attempts to trick Harry by giving him the GPS tracker linked to the dart on Gustave, saying it will locate the computer with the video. Harry forces Tim and Aviva to lead them to the "computer." While Harry holds Aviva at gunpoint, Tim and one of Harry's men follow the tracking signal to Gustave's lair, where the crocodile is sleeping. Tim finds Steven's mutilated body, and a combat knife in the scattered human remains, and stabs the guard. At the same moment, Aviva splatters Harry with Matt's container of crocodile pheromones and runs. Gustave wakes up but catches the scent of the pheromones, ignoring Tim and Aviva in favor of devouring Harry.
Tim, Jojo and Aviva climb into the Range Rover, but Gustave attacks through the rear window. Tim stabs the crocodile in the mouth with a machete. It then roars in defeat, as the others manage to escape. Tim, Aviva, Jojo, and Wiley receive medical treatment and fly back home to America, watching leftover footage of Steven on his camera. The end credits state that the Burundian Civil War ended with a ceasefire in 2005, but Gustave is very much alive and still killing people in the Rusizi River of Burundi.
- Dominic Purcell as Tim Manfrey
- Brooke Langton as Aviva Masters
- Orlando Jones as Steven Johnson
- Jürgen Prochnow as Jacob Krieg
- Gideon Emery as Matt Collins
- Gabriel Malema as Jojo
- Dumisani Mbebe as Harry / Little Gustave
- Patrick Lyster as Roger Sharpe
- Linda Mpondo as Gold Tooth
- Ernest Ndhlovu as Shaman
- Thandi Nugbani as Shaman's wife
- Kgmotoso Motlosi as Shaman's son
- Walter Emanuel Jones as Voice
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On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Primeval received an approval rating of 19% based on 54 reviews, and an average rating of 3.5/10. Its consensus reads, "Primeval is a low-quality horror film, which due to the inane political messages does not even qualify as campy fun." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 35 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews".
Luke Y. Thompson of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, writing, "With a little camp this could have been fun, but director Michael Katleman doesn’t play it that way, and even Jürgen Prochnow’s crazed Ahab wannabe is unfortunately understated." Peter Hartlaub from The San Francisco Chronicle stated that the film "almost works as an intentionally stupid action movie", but noted "for every guilty pleasure moment, a failed attempt to inject importance to the plot will shock you back into having a bad time again." A.O. Scott of The New York Times criticized the film's editing, script, and characters. Jon Condit from Dread Central awarded the film a score of 1/5, calling it "a really poor man’s Blood Diamond that just happens to also feature an enormous man-eating crocodile". Condit panned the film's thin characterizations, misleading marketing, and called Purcell "a major miscasting problem". Andrew Smith from Popcorn Pictures rated the film a score of 2/10, writing "The film doesn’t have a clue what it wants to be and switches frequently from generic monster-on-the-loose flick to the dramatic ‘let’s make a statement on Africa’ thriller it clearly has designs on being. Neither works very well."
The film also received criticism from Naturalist Patrice Faye , who stated that the film was "an insult to purists and herpetologists but, above all, an insult to Burundi. It shows the country in a bad light, and the people of Burundi are made out to be savages, barbarians, thieves, and murderers".
- Christophe Nkurunziza (29 November 2002). "Burundi's not so gentle giant". BBC News World Edition. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Primeval (2007)- Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Primeval reviews- Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- Thompson, Luke. "'Primeval'". Village Voice.com. Luke Y. Thompson. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Hartlaub, Peter. "Horrors of 'Primeval' go way beyond one really bad croc - SFGate". SF Gate.com. Peter Hartlaub. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Scott, A. "Primeval - Movie - Review - The New York Times". New York Times.com. A.O. Scott. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Condit, Jon. "Primeval (2007) - Dread Central". Dread Central.com. Jon Condit. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Smith, Andrew. "Primeval (2007)". Popcorn Pictures.co.uk. Andrew Smith. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- McRae, Michael (February 2008). "Gustave, the Killer Crocodile – Update". National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Retrieved 4 April 2015.