A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this creature-centric horror movie includes lots of bloody violence: The film's giant crocodile rips up and eats people, militiamen shoot at civilians, a family is executed, and more. There's discussion of "black-on-black violence" in the United States and Africa. A teenager character shoots a villain and is upset by it. An attempted rape scene involves a rough assault, ripped clothing, and the female victim's distress. Some drinking and smoking; language includes multiple uses of "f--k," plus other obscenities and sexual slang.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After Burundi's legendary 20-foot crocodile, Gustave, kills a white female forensics expert who's examining a mass grave, a tabloid-esque TV station sends a crew to capture the beast. Along with cameraman Steven (Orlando Jones), the team includes producer Tim (Dominic Purcell), "animal reporter" Aviva (Brooke Langton) -- whose moral compass is revealed when she saves a dog left out as bait for the monster croc -- and Matt (Gideon Emery), a self-absorbed Aussie croc expert. Matt wants to preserve Gustave and manages to affix a tracking device to the croc. Weathered guide Krieg (Jürgen Prochnow) is determined to kill the beast rather than capture it. Tim and Aviva come to appreciate Krieg's view, as Gustave attacks the group repeatedly. But the crocodile isn't their only problem. Steven befriends war-orphaned teenager Jojo (Gabriel Malema), and also witnesses an execution by the warlord known as "Little Gustave."
Is it any good?
Inconsistent and conventional, Primeval claims to be "inspired by true events." Namely, the reported attacks by Gustave and the country's civil war, which has raged since 1993. The two plotlines come together thematically, with the movie positioning the militias as "killing machines" much like the crocodile -- both of which fail to attract the attention of white, Western media or intervention by international peacekeepers.
While it's worthwhile for the filmmakers to try to compare the two, the intriguing idea is trivialized and lost in the formulaic plot and characters of this mostly hum-drum horror flick. On top of that, the special effects are lacking -- Gustave is a not-very-convincing mix of animatronics and CGI.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the characters' different attitudes toward the crocodile. Why does Matt want to capture it and Krieg want to kill it? Is either of them right? How do the civil war storyline and the crocodile-hunting plot parallel each other? The movie claims to be based on true events; how accurate do you think it is? If you've seen it, how does this movie compare to National Geographic's story of the real Gustave?
- In theaters: January 12, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: June 12, 2007
- Cast: Brooke Langton, Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones
- Director: Michael Katleman
- Studio: Hollywood Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong graphic violence, brutality, terror, and language.
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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