January 14, 2007


Being promoted in the trailers as the most terrifying serial killer in history, the Michael Katleman directed film Primeval is really about a 25′ crocodile who reeks havoc in Africa. In addition to the crocodile at large in Burundi there are also warlords who have other ideas about the news team being in their country. Touchstone releases the film in the US on January 12, 2007 which stars Gideon Emory, Brooke Langton, and Jurgen Prochnow. Screenplay was by John Brancato and Michael Ferris who also worked on Catwoman and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

John Frizzell approached this score like many other composers by trying to seek source material appropriate for the time frame and local of the film. He traveled to Africa and recorded a library of 800 sound clips including Burundian drumming and Inanga Chochotee a technique of harp playing and whispering which is used on “Beeper Speeds” quite effectively. The Burundian drumming is used on several of the tracks. All in all by combining these African sounds with some of the more typical Hollywood landscape material you have a score which is definitely unique in design, being part African, part horror, and traditional Hollywood template. “Mass Graves” opens with a low register string bowing (cello or bass), pipes and then the eerie strings with no melody but long notes denoting what lies ahead for the viewer. “Happy Village”, while a scant 45 seconds, is a track that is quite typical of what your ear most likely wants to hear in African adventure with some lyrics/chanting and a basic theme. “Lekker Fish” uses the same dissonant solo string playing in “Mass Graves” except a higher pitch is used. While “Flying Home” is certainly not going to remind you of the classic Lionel Hampton standard, it does put some sort of finality to the film or does it really?. Tracks such as “Peace Keeper”, “The Dart”, and “Shaman’s Blessing”( helicopter starting up) are filled with wierd sounds in addition to underscore material. “Matt Get’s Killed” sounds more like something that would come out of a popular band (distorted electric guitar).

While I certainly cannot give the film a high rating as it will be relegated to late night viewing in years to come, I can certainly give John an ‘A’ for effort in his quest for a unique sound to a dull movie. While this is a demo courtesy of Tom from Ray Costa it is my understanding that there will be a full release at sometime in the near future as John was recording with a full orchestra in Prague. As in his previous work for Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, and Stay Alive John tries to come up with something different sounding, succeeds, and as a result this is certainly worth a listen.


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