Primeval comes from Michael Katleman this is Katlemans first feature film, although he has been directing and producing television since the start of the 1990s. The script comes from the writing team of John Brancato and Michael Ferris who have also written the likes of The Net (1995), The Game (1997), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Catwoman (2004), Surrogates (2009) and Terminator Salvation (2009).
Michael Katleman does a passable but unremarkable job with the film. Though the films advertising pays some lip service to being based on a true story, Primeval is a generic monster movie and one that seems even more so when one contrasts it to either Greg McLeans excellent treatment of fairly much the exact same material in Rogue or the powerfully raw Black Water. It is written to the cliches of the monster movie Jurgen Prochnow plays the half-crazed big game hunter who has been all but outrightly modelled on Robert Shaws Quint in Jaws (1975); Orlando Jones plays the bad cliche of the urban Black man out of his comfort zone; and you can predict the attraction between hero and heroine from the moment of their introduction.
Primeval does come to life when the CGI and animatronics people are allowed to do their thing. They create a series of dramatically charged sequences with the crocodile trapped in the metal cage, rolling it over and over into the water and trying to batter its way out; its giant body erupting out of the river to run along a tiny wooden pier; it jumping out of the water several metres up into the air to snatch Jurgen Prochnow in its jaws; the scenes with it attacking Duminsani Mbebe and cracking his head like an eggshell; and the climactic scenes with it battering its way into the back of an SUV. Michael Katleman certainly gives the film a kick when he is in the midst of the ragged-edge scenes with people being shot at by mercenaries or Dominic Purcell fighting in shallow water with a warlord. Yet whenever the crocodile and action set-pieces are over, Primeval falls back to the utterly generic.
There is also a subtle degree of racism to the film. The Africans only ever seem to be characterised in terms of being ignorant but decent natives or else evil corrupt warlords and their henchmen. On the other hand, the film does make a modest attempt to deal with the political instability of the region (if one that is entirely lacking in depth), with digs being made at one point how nobody would be interested in the news special if it hadnt happened to white people. On the other hand, what you can see on another level is that Primeval would never have gained any funding if it been about African natives defending their territories and hadnt feature white heroes either.