By: John M Jerva
REVIEW: Tribal-Get Out Alive
STARRING: Zara Phythian, Ross O’ Hennessy, Rachel Warren, Valerie Thomas and Thomas Dodd
DIRECTED BY: Mark Routledge
Official Synopsis: Elite military operative Caitlin Ross retires from service after suffering from PTSD. Along with former team member and close friend Brad Johnson, they opted for the ‘easy life’ and now run a small security firm. The company are hired by young, troublesome millionaire Richard Kenning to clear and secure the land and property he has recently inherited. Rumours and stories surrounding the land and buildings are dismissed until people start disappearing and the team end up locked in with no escape. It soon becomes apparent they are being hunted and the race is on to get out alive.
THE REVIEW: I have known about the newly released independent action/horror hybrid flick Tribal-Get Out Alive for a long while now and have been eagerly awaiting the chance to view the film as it looked like an intriguing blend of action, horror, high stakes suspense and rip roaring and bone breaking martial arts action. Add in the fact that it stars femme fatale Zara Phythian who has been featured in numerous films highlighting her awesome fighting skills and fierce martial arts expertise and you have the recipe for one hell of a good time. Was I right in my thinking? You bet your ass I was!
In terms of plot, Tribal doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel but what it does do is take a story in the vein of many zombie-esque films before it and literally turns it on its head with brutal, non-stop fight sequences that rival no other. When I say brutal, I mean horror film bloody and outrageous brutality that will satisfy genre fans on a Saturday night viewing. Also starring is Ross O’Hennessy who is a beast and while serving as a supporting player in many films, here he gets ample opportunity to showcase his particular set of skills as well in epic and bloody fashion.
As the film opens up, we are introduced to Phythian’s character Caitlin Ross who is a former elite military operative who has since retired from service due to suffering from PTSD. Ross still has the itch though and she reunites with comrade Brad Johnson (O’Hennessy) as members of a security service and we get to see them in action right away as they are dispatched to stop a drug deal. It is here that we witness just how effective these two are as they single handedly take out the threat with a flury of aweome skills.
For their troubles, they are given what is supposed to be an easier assignment which is babysitting rich lowlife Richard Kenning (Dodd) who has inherited a vast estate. Unfortunately, there are vagrants running about and Ross, Johnson and their crew are dispatched to clean it up. As they dive deeper into the maze of horrors, our heroes discover that Kenning’s now deceased father had been performing inhumane tests on homeless people turning them into something deadly and ferocious. Think 28 Days Later meets Night Of The Living Dead and you get the picture. Now Ross and Johnson must dig deep within themselves and use every lethal combat skill they know if they are to survive the night as this bloodthirsty tribe wants nothing more than to make them their next meal.
Tribal-Get Out Alive is one of those types of films that merges different genres and here it is action and horror. It’s a fine line to cross when you try to blend films of a different nature but here director Mark Routledge and screenwriter Johnny Walker succeed in checking all the boxes for genre fans with a picture that is part adrenaline rush, part horror show and all bone crunching martial arts action. What makes the film succeed on these levels are the stars and her it is Zara Phythian and Ross O’Hennessy who take it upon themselves to carry the film. You’re only as strong as your lead characters and Phythian’s Caitlin Ross is a kick ass warrior who is also sympathetic at the same time. Phythian plays it close to the vest and delivers a mesmerizing performance that is eqiual parts finesse and brutality. She’s like a cornered tiger who when pushed too far, becomes enraged and lets it all hang out in a firestorm of lethal combat that is second to none. Phythian who has been showcased in many films prior, really takes the lead here and with it throws her hat in the ring as the next female action star. She basically is this generation’s Cynthia Rothrock and her fight sequences are really thrilling to watch as they are smooth and barbaric all at the same time.
O’Hennessy is also spot on as Ross’ partner Brad Johnson, and just like Phythian, O’Hennessy has played smaller roles in TV shows like Game Of Thrones and films like Accident Man and here he gets to take center stage as well and like I said he’s a beast and and when he lets loose, the results are painful for those he is going up against. O’ Hennessy also gets a few choice one liners as well and can certainly handle himself with the comedic elements at the same time.
The supporting cast led by Thomas Dodd also bring their A game and Dodd plays his characterof Richard Kenning with the right amount of sleaze and arrogance that you know what he is all about from the get go. Kenning is bad but you just don’t know how truly bad he is until the second half of the film. An accomplished martial artist also, Dodd gets to let loose and have fun especially at the end where he has one epic and quickly paced brawl with Phythian for all the marbles. Valerie Thomas, who plays Maya, is another standout as her character isn’t easy to pin down either in terms of which side she is on.
The action in Tribal is truly ferocious and is the real selling point here and even though there are elements of horror that work very well and develop the mood early on, its the fight sequeneces that elevate this one above other independent action films. Routledge executes each altercation with a sense of urgency and the real thrill is not knowing who will live and who will die. Phythian has arrived with this film and it clearly demonstrates just how insanely talented this woman is. Her choreography is explosive and exececuted with blunt force trauma and she is the real deal when it comes to the fisticuffs. There are many wince inducing moments that sharpen up the horror elements and you feel each and every hit that is landed during the altercations. O’Hennessy gets to tangle with one rather ominous assailant in the finale and gets to use a chain for maximum results.
All in all, what you see is what you get with Tribal-Get Out Alive. Its one of the most successful mashups of action and horror and sprinkle in the martial arts wow factor, you have the makings of a cult classic that will satisfy crowds looking for new entertainment during these troubling times. At 85 minutes, there is no room for boredom and it moves lighning quick especially in the latter stages and enthusiasts of both action and horror have something to cheer about with this one. Phythian and O’Hennessy work well together and it is their chemistry that really sells the film also and hopefully we will get to see them again. With Tribal-Get Out Alive, it’s come for the horror and stay for the action!
VERDICT: 4 Out Of 5 Stars