Mark H. Young’s horror thriller “Feral” feels like 2010’s “Primal” and 2003’s “Cabin Fever” reworked in to a goofy zombie melodrama about a lot of pretty people arguing over “important” stuff like relationships, and who’s dating whom before they’re interrupted by zombies. “Feral” could have been a very claustrophobic and weird little cabin in the woods gem, but it’s so mucked up with the twenty minutes of exposition and drama that goes absolutely nowhere. Seriously none of the conflicts actually take any real toll once the narrative gets moving, and it’s a shame.
In “Feral,” three young couples straight out of college go camping for the weekend, and after hours of hiking decide to hunker down in the middle of the woods. While camping out, one of the friends is viciously mauled by an anthropomorphic monster that devours his guts. As the group struggles to comprehend what’s happened, the other friends fall prey to the monster’s attacks. After they flee to a local deserted cabin (there’s one in every forest don’ cha know?), they meet a mysterious man who holds the answer to their questions. All the while group leader Alice struggles to keep her friends safe, all of whom are becoming monsters after being bitten or attacked.
“Feral” has a decent cast it just shits the bed by doing nothing with any of them. Folks like Olivia Luccardi (Luccardi is adorable), Scout Taylor Compton, and Lew Temple always have such great screen presence, but here they’re reduced to one note characters that make some really stupid decisions. How is it that Compton’s character can fire a rifle with sheer precision, but doesn’t have an inch of common sense? No one here does anything remotely sensible, whether it’s quarantining the sick, to maybe sitting down with the film’s resident nut job to find out what’s going on, etc. Also, if this monster is lurking around in the woods, are there other victims? Are these things zombies, rabid beasts, or something more?
Why do they crave human flesh one moment, and the next just seem intent on spreading their infection? Are they cognizant of others or are they like some advanced form of a zombie? Most of “Feral” is based heavily on the group hiding in a cabin and fending off the monsters outside, so the first twenty minutes feel like tacked on exposition for the sake of getting from point A to point B. They’re all so confused about their romances, main character Alice’s brother is pissed she’s in a lesbian relationship, for some reason, blah blah, again once it gets to the blood and scares, it has no relevance. “Feral” is a sub-par survival horror film through and through. It probably won’t even make a good time killer, when all is said and done. I am digging on Olivia Luccardi, though. The Blu-Ray from Shout! factory comes only with the original trailer for “Feral.”