Imaginative, humourless, and profoundly idiotic, Feral is a movie in which several college-age students venture aimlessly into the woods, and winds up being exactly the movie you expected when you read that sentence.
I’m starting to feel like every college student who ventures out into the woods deserves everything they get. If years and years of horror movies – and, I suppose, real life – have taught us anything, it’s that there’s no reason to be out there. The best that might happen is severe injury and a lifetime of inescapable emotional trauma. In all likelihood they’ll end up dead. Their relationships break down, their cameras get broken – another tip: don’t take a camera anywhere – and they wind up monologuing into the camera, snot slithering down their faces, as whatever immortal mask-enthusiast or slimy monster finally puts them out of their idiotic, promiscuous misery. Good riddance, I say. The fewer movies like Feral I have to watch, the happier I’ll be.
Yes, Feral, directed by Mark H. Young from a script he co-wrote with Adam Frazier, is one of those movies. Three couples (one of them same-sex, notably) schlep into the woodland with the somewhat nebulous goal of reaching a lake or some such idyllic retreat. No luck. Lost (one of them says, “Are we lost?”) and forced to set up camp for the night, they find themselves exchanging hilariously on-the-nose character-development dialogue and then, thankfully, being beset by hairless flesh-eating monsters.
According to a gentlemen named Talbot who lives in a cabin in these woods, and is definitely not suspicious at all, no sir, this is all thanks to a virus. He calls it “the feral virus”, and the movie is called Feral, so this makes sense. It kills people and then reanimates them as grotesques, as all good viruses must. Talbot has secrets that partially explain the movie’s prologue, in which a bound and gagged woman gets shot, but I didn’t mention that because it indicates a slightly more interesting movie than Feral ends up being, and I didn’t want to disappoint you.
Mostly, Feral is an exercise in how much gory makeup and stock monstrous sound effects can be purchased within a rather conservative budget, which turns out to be quite a lot. Perhaps – and this is just me – that money might have been better spent on a writer who would have rightly torn up the script upon reading the line, “Matt’s gonna be a penis doctor. He loves the D,” in response to poor Matt revealing that he intends to be a urologist. If it makes you feel any better, Matt doesn’t become a urologist after all.