It’s 12:03 am
The road to “Maneater” is a little twisted. I had seen it marked for sale at Family Video but I initially passed on it,the shelves were packed with a lot of indie horror and while I had noticed Dean Cain’s name on it,I stilled passed. I like Dean as a actor and in fact we have reviewed one of his films here. But anyways I passed on it and moved on.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I saw my fellow movie buff and critic Bobby LePire of Terribly Fun Films list “Maneater” as a movie he was checking out. I asked him how it was and he said he liked it except for cheesy CGI. I told the cheetah and he said he loved the title and we should check it out…it was still sitting on the shelf when I went back to the store.
I made us some chicken and veggies and away we go…..
The film opens up with scene of a pregnant Native Indian woman lying in her teepee,her time is very close. Meanwhile a young Native American man is in the woods when he hears a noise,after standing still for a second,he turns and races back toward the woman with whatever is chasing him close behind. The man is fast and it looks as he has beaten the stranger following him back to his home. The woman rises up expecting her husband and instead its a horribly big hand and it has long talons…..the woman screams and we pop up into the present where Harry Bailey wake up from what we just saw,it was just a terrible nightmare.
Bailey is a former FBI profiler who moved with his family into a very small town where he has become sheriff. He lives with his 17 old year old daughter Pearl,their mom walked out on them 6 years earlier. Pearl tries to take care of her dad as he seems always a little distracted.
When Harry’s deputies Z and Stanley interrupt the service at church because of a violent attack,Harry rides out with them as they swap ideas what could have happened.
A woman is missing and a man is critically burned.
They meet up with another deputy and an Indian who discovered the site. Stanley,who is also Native American and the other man begin to speak in their native tongue as Harry goes to the scene and squats down. Soon he is seeing everything how he suspects went down,a pair of lovers were set upon and the woman was taken while the man tipped over his lantern,setting his tent on fire and trapping him. The woman was taken,not killed by a bear or a cheetah like the two deputies were thinking.
He explains how he knows this using his profiler background. He and Z overhear the Indian and Stan talk…when Harry presses for details,Stan says the man says it could be a wendigo,a monster who can shape shift.
While this is going on,Pearl is meeting with her friends and telling her about the new kid,Todd,who just moved in from Los Angeles,the teens all hang at the lake and drink a few beers. The rest of the teens ask Todd to take Pearl back home as they’re trying to hook them up. When Todd disturbs a setting in the house by mistake,Pearl tells him how her dad is certain the mom is coming back,even after 6 years and he wants everything left as is. Harry Bailey has demons and they are starting to affect his world as he nightmares every night.
When two poachers go missing along with Pearl’s best friend,Kay…the pressure is mounting for Sheriff Bailey and small department to come up with answers. Where these people disappearing to? Why Harry so overprotective of his daughter? Is Todd really just a new kid or does he have sinister secrets he is keeping? And what exactly happened to Marge Bailey,Harry’s wife and Pearl’s mom? A lot of questions and throw in a pissed off wendigo and you have a Maneater to deal with……
And you have a pile of dogpoo to deal with as well. This movie made me mad because the premise has so much potential to be a instant indie creature feature classic. A great monster in the wendigo,three very entertaining lead actors in Dean Cain as Harry Bailey,Saginaw Grant as Stan and Christopher Darga as Z. If screenwriters John K. Anderson and Michael Emanuel has focused the story on those three instead of writing such a plot hole riddled script that seemed more focused on showing nudity then telling a story that made ANY kind of sense,talk about a real cool idea turned to road kill.
The thing is,both writers had it in them….the scene where Bailey is seeing the crime from the wendigo’s POV is brilliant. It reminded me of a scene in Thomas Harris’s “Red Dragon” where Will Graham does the same in order to explore the scene differently.
But after this,the movie just falls apart and leaves the three leads with pile of shit in terms of dialogue. I felt really bad for Darga’s Z as he is painted at a child predator by his words and speech. The look on his face as he recites his lines,its like “What the hell am I saying this for”? The same can be said for Dean Cain,he got saddled into this mess is a question I love for his agent to answer because he is a much better actor then this.
The plot holes are big enough to sail a carrier through and the wendigo itself looks like the Cryptkeeper from the EC Comics if he had drank a case of Red Bull.
Other then a cameo from Conrad Janis,the rest of the cast is forgettable and bland.
This is one creature feature you don’t need to invest a minute into. And it could have been great……what a waste of a idea and a cast.
“Maneater” is rated a hard “R” nudity,gore,language and bad plot holes.
It has a run time of 91 minutes and has no special features.
The cheetah tossed a furball on the disc and I give this two thumbs down.
This has been perhaps the 2nd worst film we have reviewed here. So WHY post a review if its so bad? We do this so you don’t waste 91 minutes of your lives.
What has been the WORST movie you have seen this year? Comment below.