Monday, February 26, 2018

Primal Rage: Oh-Mah, the Legend with Big Feet

Big Foot must be real, because he fits the description of the Oh-Mah in Yurok and Hoppa native legends. According to the Pacific Northwest deputy, they are the restless spirits of deceased tribal chiefs. Those must have been some mean chiefs, because this Oh-Mah sasquatch is one ornery beast in Patrick Magee’s Primal Rage: Bigfoot Reborn (trailer here), which has a special one-night only Fathom Events screening tomorrow, at participating theaters.

Ashley just picked up her no-account husband Max from prison, hoping to salvage their relationship, but all he wants to talk about are shivs. Soon, he won’t be talking so tough anymore. Things look bad when bad when Ashley runs down a half-chewed victim fleeing the Oh-Mah, but they take a worse turn when they tumble down the ravine during the aftermath. Clearly, they will be the Oh-Mah’s next prey, but the creature seems to take a special interest in Ashley.

Max and Ashley could use some help, but the hunting party of drunken good old boys are not exactly the helpful type. They too seem to take an interest in Ashley, but they won’t be laughing either once Oh-Mah starts picking them off one or two at a time. He is a hairy creature, but he is smart enough to use tools, like a bow and arrows. Fortunately, the skeptical Sheriff agreed to attend a sweat lodge-style ritual for insight, so help is surely on the way.

During the long, long set-up, Primal feels like a pretty standard Big Foot movie, but the third act is surprisingly tense and brutal. Throughout it all, late veteran character actor Eloy Casadas is terrific as the Sheriff. Even though Casadas had a recurring role on Walker, Texas Ranger and regularly appeared in Ron Shelton’s films, it doesn’t look like the trades or Deadline covered his passing, so good for Magee and company for dedicating the film to his memory.

So, it does get going eventually, as soon as Oh-Mah’s arrows start flying. Casey Gagliardi and Andrew Joseph Montgomery stop being so annoying as Ashley and Max once the direness of their situation becomes apparent. Marshal Hilton also keeps things lively by gleefully chewing the scenery as B.D., the leader of the sketchy hunting party.

Thanks to some nicely drawn characters, Primal Rage is much better than Exists, but it is not nearly as fun as Stomping Ground. You probably do not need to reschedule your life to see it tomorrow, but you should definitely take time to appreciate Casadas’s final work when it hits streaming platforms. For loyal Sasquatch-watchers, Primal Rage: Bigfoot Reborn screens in select theaters tomorrow (2/27), including the AMC Empire and Regal Union Square in New York.