A Very Familiar But Enjoyable Horror With A Bite
Although Feral is competently made and certainly has a few tense moments, it’s also a horror film devoid of originality, borrowing heavily from other horror films that have taken this concept and executed it far more effectively. That’s not to say the film is bad, quite the opposite; Feral is a really enjoyable horror and manages to nail the usual tropes found in this genre to good effect. It’s just a shame that Feral decides to embrace the familiar rather than attempting something unique as there’s certainly potential here for a very good horror film but its familiarity is its ultimate downfall, making it feel like another generic, forgettable horror.
Set in an unknown woodland landscape, independent film Feral follows a handful of friends as they go camping out in the wild. At the heart of this is our pair of heroines, Jules (Olivia Luccardi) and Alice (Scout Taylor-Compton), who find their situation spiralling out of control as the group are stalked by a feral, crazed creature in the woods. Part animal and part human, the hideously disfigured creature relentlessly stalks the post-college students throughout who eventually find refuge inside a nearby log cabin. Stuck in a deadly game of cat and mouse, most of the film revolves around the creature trying to track and eat them while those still alive try to remain that way. There’s a little bit of Jeepers Creepers here, a little of The Descent and a whole load of other horror tropes that make Feral’s story one of sheer predictability.
In true horror fashion the acting is pretty hit or miss with a whole host of blood-curdling screaming accompanying the more suspenseful moments. Illogical character decisions and some cheesy one liners certainly don’t help either and throughout the film there’s some chunks of expository dialogue used to give some backstory to the creature’s origins and the background to each of the surviving students. Much to Feral’s credit, the actors do the best with what they have but at times the lines do fall flat. Thankfully, the plot moves forward at a decent pace an there’s never a moment where you feel the film is dragging on unnecessarily.
While some have lavishly praised the inclusion of a same sex relationship and the way it’s naturally bred into the film (and it is well written for the most part), in the long run it doesn’t make a difference to the narrative structure of the story nor will people look back in years to come and define Feral based on this alone. For us to do the same would be doing this Indie horror an injustice. Its subtle inclusion is a welcome relief too and when it is brought up, it never feels ham-fisted or contrived, helping with the natural authenticity in the way this develops.
Feral is certainly an enjoyable horror but it borrows plot ideas heavily from other films. Armed with a good dose of charm and some dread-inducing horror to spice up the story, the quick pace keeps the film flowing right through to its climactic, exciting ending. While there are better horror films out there,Feral feels content with its predictable story and slick visuals. Competently shot and aesthetically pleasing throughout, Feral is certainly a good looking horror film but its lack of originality ultimately holds it back from being the memorable cult classic it could have become.