The leads shine, the rest is fine
Having enjoyed the I Am Vengeance series (starring Stu Bennett) being distributed by the UK’s Evolutionary Films, I decided to take a chance on their horror-action hybrid Tribal: Get Out Alive. Headlined by the less well-known duo of Zara Phythian as Caitlin and Ross O’Hennessy as Brad, our duo of old friends and former elite soldiers nonetheless become the primary selling point of this genre exercise.
While both Caitlin and Ross are highly trained former soldiers, they’ve retired from that life and are doing private security work for a living now. All of that is mostly just brief set up, however, to get these characters into a bit of an action-horror scenario where they’ll be tangling with… undefined but vaguely zombie-like creatures who used to be unhoused people squatting on a manor estate, but who drank the WRONG green luminescent potion.
So it’s like a Lethal Weapon meets Stuart Gordon kind of situation.
Ultimately, while there’s a little bit of commentary on the rotting British aristocracy and douche bag entitled heirs (Thomas Dodd’s Richard Kenning is a suitably slimy human antagonist), this is a movie about a mad scientist who made a monster potion and the buddy badasses who wade down into his labyrinth to clear out the hordes.
Zara Phythian is the true star here and while I was totally unfamiliar with her, she’s done quite a bit of professional stunt work and smaller roles over the course of a decade or so. She doesn’t waste her chance at the lead and cuts quite a striking presence as an ass-kicking heroine with her own agency and even a little character depth as a person fighting to push past her PTSD. Ross O’Hennessy cedes the primary spotlight to Phythian and kind of ends up being the supportive heart of the duo. They crack wise and crack skulls together just like a couple of bros would in any other action film, and the ease with which they do both is what sets this film apart.
Director Matt Routledge does a solid job of focusing on his compelling leads and capturing the action his capable stars are able to deliver with competence even though it all takes place in dark corridors and hallways. Things get a little less well done with most of the performances beyond those I’ve already mentioned here. There’s some flat line delivery, flat visuals, and general feelings of familiarity that run throughout and keep Tribal from really becoming something that stands out from the pack.
So while there’s nothing groundbreaking here except perhaps for putting Phythian on more people’s radars, Tribal definitely has a pulse and has fun with its mixing of genres and its quips and its capable and graceful leading lady.
And I’m Out.
Tribal: Get Out Alive is now available in the UK on all major digital platforms from Evolutionary Films and also now available in the US digitally through SP Releasing.