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Forest Primeval (2008)

Forest Primeval


Many of the low budget and no budget horror movies that I watch have suffered from problems that are due to a lack of budget, but more often the problems result from a lack of filmmaking experience.  When an average guy and his neighborhood friends decide to buy a video camera and make their epic movie even though they have no idea how to make a movie, I give them credit for their attitude of "Let's just go for it!"  It makes me want to like the movie because I know that the people making it are really trying, they just don't have the experience to pull together something polished.  However, the guys who produced and directed Forest Primeval are the Polonia Brothers (Pennsylvania natives Mark and John Polonia).   They may never have had a good budget, but they've been making cheesy, shot on video, low budget films since the 1980s.  They have made more than 20 films that I know of, so it's tough for me to give them a break when it comes to some of the problems with Forest Primeval.

The story is pretty basic and thin for guys who have been doing this for two decades.  There's a evil monster in the woods at Skull Mountain and it's killing stupid people.  It kills a hunter, his girlfriend and a hiker, but there are also a couple of amateur treasure hunters in the woods who run across the monster and plan to run away to tell someone about it.  There's also a chick in town who's psychic and knows about the monster, so she heads out to the woods by herself to stop it...without any weapons.

The acting is all pretty bad, but the dialog is worse.  This film could easily have gone in the direction of a tongue-in-cheek horror comedy, but instead, there were only a couple of fart jokes.  The Halloween shop fake arms and prosthetic masks would have been perfect for a film that took itself a lot less seriously.  The story was pretty thin and although I realize that you have to totally ignore reality in this kind of movie, what guy who's out hunting in the woods during an earthquake is going to put his gun down and say, "An earthquake, I should check this out."  If you think it's an earthquake, what the hell are you checking out?  If you're a hunter and you are checking something out, why are you propping your damn gun against a tree and walking away?  When the guy is attacked by the monster, he doesn't have time to shoot it anyway, so why not let him carry it around?  I don't usually point out things like this in movies because let's face it, when you watch a low budget movie, it's going to have stuff like this.  But Forest Primeval is just full of that kind of thing.  It's like these guys weren't even trying to make a decent film. 

There is a pretty good bit of gore.  I'm not a big fan of low budget computer graphics and a lot of the gore was computer generated, but if that doesn't bother you, you'll be happy with the quantity of gore.  There was absolutely no skin.  There was even a shower scene with no nudity at all.  I can never figure out the point of a random shower scene without nudity.  The music is some of the worst soundtrack music I've ever heard (and I've seen dozens of no budget home made movies).  It was pretty much all keyboards and they didn't even bother to fix performance mistakes.  Now that's just lazy.  Don't you just program those things to play something?

20 years of experience did apparently help with a lot of the aspects of filmmaking that are typically problematic for new filmmakers.  The picture quality was pretty good throughout the film.  There were no problems with lighting.  The editing and shot composition were ok and the audio was relatively consistent, so when it comes to the technical side of things, it looks like these guys can make a movie on autopilot and it will at least look and sound decent.  

This film is distributed through Tempe DVD.  They usually have really good prices on their films, but this one costs a good bit more than the others.  I guess that's because it was just released.  Maybe in a year or so it will be more reasonably priced.

Gore-o-meter rating: 2 out of 5
(There's a good bit of cheesy blood!)

Skin-o-meter: 0 out of 5 (no skin)