Directed by Matt Routledge [Other horror films: N/A]
I didn’t have great hopes when I started this British film, and those doubts were somewhat well-founded. Certainly Tribal Get Out Alive (quality title – next time, invest in some colons on IMDb) is action-packed at times, and does have fun fighting sequences, but the plot isn’t something I care for, and while okay at times, overall, it’s not a film I think I can say I liked.
A big reason for that is the plot. It starts out okay – a bunch of private security individuals (bailiffs, they refer to themselves as) go help clear out a farm for a client. Soon, though, they run amok of someone killing their people, and before long, we learn there’s a bunch of mutated homeless people living in tunnels and they all fight with machetes and have enhanced strength and speed and there’s between forty and eighty of them and the leader has more muscles than Schwarzenegger in his prime.
Yeah, once the plot delves into a large mass of mutated people with super strength going after people with machetes, all because of a serum made by a mad scientist, I had to mentally check out of the story. It gets even worse when one of the characters we’ve been following decides to take the serum, and becomes a Final Antagonist and it was just awful.
The action is fun, though. I suspect this is because one of the two leads, Zara Phythian, has a background in martial arts. If IMDb trivia is to be believed, she is the first British martial artist to be inducted into the International Karate & Kickboxing Hall of Fame (and if you look at the list of inductees, Chuck Norris is also there, which is fun). Phythian kicks ass in this film, and it’s fun to see her fight, especially when she’s rocking a machete and slitting throats. Good times.
In fact, I do think Phythian (who has also been in The Hike from 2011 and Cannibals and Carpet Fitters from 2017) makes a solid lead. We never learn that much about her character, but the performance is pretty solid, and she brings in good credentials when it comes to the action. Ross O’Hennessy was a lot of fun too – quite a strong-looking man with a good personality, I thought he worked well with Phythian (which might be because the two worked together before, such as in the films Knights of the Damned and Dragon Kingdom).
[It’s at this juncture that I should mention Phythian, in 2022, was sentenced to eight years in prison for her role in the sexual abuse of a 13-year old girl with her husband. This happened after my review was written, and so wasn’t referenced elsewhere, but it does seem something worth knowing.]
Aside from Phythian and O’Hennessy, we don’t really have any noteworthy performances. The only other really central characters were performed by Valerie Thomas (who wasn’t really the best actress I’ve seen in recent times) and Thomas Dodd (who wasn’t the best actor I’ve seen in recent times). Luckily, most of the time is spent with Phythain and O’Hennessy, but the fact that these are the only two good performances is a bit disheartening.
The biggest problem is the plot, though. Some scenes were pretty good, such as the action-oriented ones, and there was a good scene that was perhaps ripped from Wrong Turn (two women are hiding in a cabinet while a group of mutants throw their friend on a table, rip flesh off his arm, and eat it), but a lot of the stuff in the film strikes me as uninspired and generic.
Even so, I don’t doubt that Tribal Get Out Alive can be an okay viewing experience. It has that British flair and good action, so even though it is below average, I don’t think this movie is necessarily a disaster. It’s just a far step from really standing out.
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