Ferocious Planet starts in with undeniable promise. The device is unveiled in a demonstration to John Rhys-Davies senator; it is made to work and we see a series of windows onto other worlds where the wonderment of what we are seeing is constantly being undercut by Rhys-Daviess scathing remarks. Abruptly, everything goes wrong amid a surge of energy from the machine. In the aftermath, Joe Flanigan hunts a creature through the building that proves to be definitely not of this world when killed, followed by John Rhys-Davies barnstorming past security and heading outside where we see it is now a forest rather than Washington D.C., only for him to be devoured by a giant creature amid a wash of digital gore. When a film kills off its biggest name star within the first fifteen minutes, it is definitely heading down the trail of the unexpected.
The rest of Ferocious Planet does surprisingly well out of the premise it has. It could almost be tvs Primeval (2007-11) played the other way rather than prehistoric creatures being brought through portals into the present, it has a party of people being propelled through a portal into a prehistoric world. The digital effects used to represent the creatures are cheap but effective. The film creates an undeniable sense of alienness during the exploration of the terrain, the encounters with the creatures and surreal images such as parking meters from outside the building having been dragged through and being found impaled in trees or standing planted in the middle of the forest. The plot is well structured in terms of the creation of an escalating series of problems centred around their desire to get back home. The film reaches an interestingly downbeat ending sort of borrowed from Planet of the Apes (1968).
Certainly, the film does take a few liberties with credibility. If the entire laboratory and complex has been torn out from its surroundings and transported to another world, how does it still have power? We see constantly sparking electrical cables torn open, which would suggest that they are still connected somewhere. There is the magic wave of the wand device of the fusion generator that is said to power everything but this is dead. Not only does the fusion generator manage to be exceedingly conveniently built into the back of the dimension jump device but the entire operation, including the generator that powers the whole building, exists in what looks like a largish sized CPU that can be carried on someones back (and even comes with carry straps for the express purpose of doing so). Another of the improbabilities is that soldiers who are on duty in a dead-end office job (as we gather from the opening scenes where we are introduced to Joe Flanigan) are given sidearms containing live rounds and even outfitted with smoke grenades.
Irish director Billy OBrien had previously made Isolation (2005) about mutant cattle on a farm. He subsequently went onto make the science-fiction film Scintilla/The Hybrid (2014) and I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016).