Feral Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Mark H. Young
Written by Mark H. Young and Adam Frazier
2018, 92 minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray released on October 2nd, 2018
Scout Taylor-Compton as Alice
Olivia Luccardi as Jules
Lew Temple as Talbot
Renee Olstead as Brienne
Brock Kelly as Jesse
Landry Allbright as Gina
George Finn as Matt
Six college friends on a weekend getaway run into trouble while camping in the woods. The three couples are in search of a lake, but opt to camp out for the night and start fresh in the morning. During the night, once everyone has turned in, a creature attacks and kills one of the group and wounds another. Luckily, most of these kids are med students and they tend to her wounds and try to keep her comfortable. The next day they meet Talbot, a hermit with an isolated cabin nearby. He offers them shelter, which they gratefully accept, but he has some strange ideas about what attacked their friends. According to him, there is a virus that causes victims to change into cannibalistic monsters eager to spread the disease by scratching or biting others.
It’s a simple setup that wastes little time on character development or motivation, opting instead to go for the jugular. We don’t know much about the campers and even less about the creatures hunting them. Talbot holds a secret that isn’t too difficult to guess, but that doesn’t stop our heroes from making a lot of bone-headed decisions while attempting to escape their situation. Directed by Mark H. Young (Tooth & Nail), Feral is a by-the-numbers viral outbreak film. The lack of character development is but one of the many stumbling blocks the script – co-written by Young and newcomer Adam Frazier – trips over. While the thing looks nice and moves quickly enough, the movie itself is lifeless, a fault lying squarely at Young’s feet
Performances are all over the board here--when they are not bickering with each other, the friends are simply trying to make it from one day to the next. Yes, this tale lumbers across at least three days, since each time something bad happens at night the solution is to wait until the next morning before going for help. Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween) leads the pack as Alice, a strong-willed woman determined to keep everyone alive, no matter how violent or infected they become. She is pretty good in the part, but the role is fairly thankless in that she makes terrible decisions at every turn. Olivia Luccardi (It Follows) co-stars as Jules, Alice’s new girlfriend. The two make a nice couple and it is nice to see lesbians depicted as heroes. Rounding out the main cast is the always-welcome Lew Temple (The Devil’s Rejects) as the mysterious Talbot. He knows what’s best for the group but they are not ready to hear what he has to say. Temple adds credibility to the character that in lesser hands could come off as a cliché.
Feral lacks a soul and left me feeling empty and wanting my ninety minutes back. It just kind of limps along as it connects the well-worn dots of countless cinematic predecessors. The only highlight comes by way of the creatures performed under heavy make-up by Mark Musahi and Levi Ashlyn. Their movements are unsettling and provide the film’s sole source of a sense of danger. The special effects work by Jerry Constantine is the high point of the production with decent-looking monsters and some nice bloodwork too. Sadly, good effects do not make a good movie and this is one I must encourage you to pass up.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Feral receives a strong transfer full of rich detail. Colors and black levels are strong and flesh tones of the uninfected appear natural throughout.
A DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is joined by a DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo track and both are up to the challenge of getting the job done. The expanded mix makes nice use of the rear channels as our heroes make their way through the woods or explore the cabin. Dialogue levels are clear and free from distortion.
Optional English and Spanish subtitles are included for anyone in need.
The only special feature is the film’s original trailer.
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