Adaptation (I've heard good things about Rogue and Black Water but have not seen them yet).
Ok, this is not a reputable subgenre of the nature-run-amok movies. Maybe we've seen so much real footage of gators and crocs chomping down on zebras and wildebeests on the Discovery Channel, seeing a (usually) fake-looking gator or croc eating horror movie victims just doesn't match that same natural power and ferocity. Or maybe too many of these movies are cheap-o productions, put together with limited skill or competence.
Previews for Primeval (2007) seemed to downplay the inclusion of a crocodile as its animal on the prowl. A voice tells us that in a remote part of the world, the world's "most prolific serial killer" remains at large and has killed over 300 people. Of course, Primeval is not a serial killer movie, but the surprising thing is how it's barely a killer crocodile movie either. Part creature feature, part political statement, and part action movie, Primeval is, sadly, mostly bad.
After a U.N. worker is killed by a giant crocodile while an investigating a mass grave in Burundi, an American news crew is sent to locate and capture the infamous croc. The crew includes disgraced producer Tim (Dominic Purcell), eager reporter Aviva (Brooke Langton), cameraman Steven (Orlando Jones), wildlife expert Matt (Gideon Emery), and their guide Jacob (Jurgen Prochnow). Once in the bush, not only do they have to deal with the giant, man-eating crocodile, they become targets of a local warlord after Steven videotapes him executing villagers.
I have not seen this documentary, but I am curious to learn more about Gustave because this movie sure as hell didn't teach me anything about this crocodile other than it lives in Africa, is massive, and eats people. The attacks by Gustave in the movie are shot in a way that makes them incomprehensible to follow, and the creature itself, even in the brief glimpses of it we're allowed, fails to convince as anything more than a shoddy special effect. Plus, the beast itself is often away for long stretches in which the threat comes from the thuggish militia of the warlord Little Gustave, resulting in chases and shootouts, but even these scenes are poorly put together.
The other interesting conceit of the movie is the explanation of Gustav. He became a blood-thirsty man-eater from eating the corpses dumped into the river, the victims of Little Gustave and the civil war. True evil stems from man and breeds an uncontrollable monster. Of course, including both threats diminishes one and trivializes the other. If this is a rampage monster movie, why include a heady issue like genocide, a real-life horror a crocodile can't compete with? If it's a political commentary, why include a B-grade monster movie with it?
Primeval is trying to please too many masters. It wants to be a killer crocodile movie, a political statement, and an action movie, but unfortunately, two of these elements fail miserably. Maybe, if Gustave had only been an urban legend, the excuse to get these characters to Africa, and the action toned down to something more plausible, the movie might have made a searing social commentary about American arrogance and the nature of human cruelty. Instead, it's a mess.