by Hope Madden
Here’s the thing about Feral. It’s a decent movie: well-paced, competently directed, solidly performed. And there is not a single interesting, novel, surprising or inspired moment in it.
Maybe one, but it’s not reason enough to make this movie.
Three handsome couples head into the woods. They get a little lost, decide to pitch tents and find the lake in the morning.
They hear a noise.
One of them goes out to pee.
There’s something dangerous in the woods.
Co-writer/director Mark Young follows up half a dozen low budget, middling-to-poor horror and action films with this adequate take on a monster-in-the-woods tale.
The sole reason the film stands out in any way is that Young’s hero, Alice (Scout Taylor-Compton) is a lesbian. Equally refreshing, males are as likely as females to fall prey to the hungry forest beast.
Bravo the nonchalance with which this is depicted, as the film does not strain to call attention to the novelty of this final girl and hero twist.
Yes, it’s about time. And yet, maybe Feral needed at least one other thing to set it apart? Because as it is, it’s simply a checklist of cabin-in-the-woods horror tropes, faithfully rendered, right up to the waning moments of its running time.
Taylor-Compton offers a perfectly serviceable performance, as do most of the actors around her. Olivia Luccardi, Renee Olstead and Landry Allbright all work to provide something close to a second dimension to underwritten, throwaway characters.
Lew Temple is an always welcome sight as the—wait for it—hermit whose assistance in this situation is suspect.
Together, cast and director generate scares by relying less on imagination and more on your familiarity with the genre itself. Therefore, assuming you have ever seen a horror movie in your life, you will not be scared.
You’ll just be reminded for the thousandth time that camping is an undeniably stupid thing to do. That’s what I got out of it, anyway.