Maneater

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What happens when a man eating tiger escapes into the woods surrounding a small town? Well, once you add the talented and completely insane Gary Busey into the mix, all bets are off.

What is it with the spat of killer animal movies coming out? I was never aware that the animal kingdom was so freaking dangerous (outside of Australia I mean). Of course animals don’t really care for my kind, the rotting flesh of a zombie just doesn’t agree with their palate, so I haven’t been too worried about it since I turned. Let me rephrase that, live animals don’t really care for my kind. It’s a rare thing but occasionally an animal will turn when bitten themselves. I know what you’re thinking, “What a bunch of fucking assholes zombies must be to go around biting poor defenseless animals.” In our defense, I’ve never seen a cow put up too much of a fight against human ingestion. I’m just saying. Plus, my undead dog seems to be okay with the whole thing.

Our ggggggggggggggggreat movie (come on it’s a tiger flick, did you really think I could go without a Tony the Tiger joke) starts off on a dark and foggy night as a truck barrels down a lonely road. The driver is so drunk that he doesn’t notice when a small boy wanders into the middle of the small one lane highway until it’s too late. The drunken motorist nearly runs the kid over as he swerves out of the way, tipping the truck over in the process and releasing the vehicle’s only cargo, a large Bengal Tiger, a tiger that the wondering boy seems to have a physic connection with for some fucking reason (it’s a movie, just go with it). The ferocious feline wastes no time in hunting his prey, namely the men and women who use the forest for everything from hunting to recreation and in only a matter of days several people go missing. Enter Sheriff Grady Barnes, a man more used to pulling apart feuding old ladies and drunken hunters than dealing with a man eating tiger. When mangled body parts start turning up in the woods, the sheriff is at a loss as to what could be happening, especially after hearing that no man or native animal could have done the damage he’s witnessed. He quickly learns that the most likely attacker would have been a tiger, but since tigers are not normally found in the backwoods of America, he has a very difficult time convincing others that a big cat is killing the residents of his town. His job is only made that much more difficult when the mayor decides he doesn’t want to scare people away from the town’s annual celebration. With the body count rising and even the National Guard failing to capture the beast, Sheriff Grady is going to have to catch the thing himself, or watch as his town becomes a tiger buffet.

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{I’d take the tiger in a heartbeat}

I really didn’t think I was going to care for this movie at all, but I have to admit I enjoyed it. It might not have been the greatest movie, but it kept me pretty entertained the entire time. The thing that surprised me the most was Gary Busey. I love the man for his insanity (come on, the guy doesn’t just have a screw loose, his whole machine shop is down) and he‘s one person I‘d love to meet, but his acting has gotten pretty lousy over the years as his mind slowly caved in on itself. Maneater marks a return to the Busey we all know and love. He was in his prime for the film and really showed off his acting abilities. Mr. Busey, kudos to you my friend, this zombie is happy you’re back.

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{You don’t look crazy at all}

Okay, enough about Busey, what about the rest of the film? In a word, surprisingly good (wait, that’s two words, my math is way off). You would think a story about a tiger in the woods would probably be pretty basic and a little boring, but Maneaters actually has a pretty decent tail (pardon the pun) to tell. While the tiger is obviously the focus, they throw a bit more in there to keep your interest. I love the side story of the boy somehow connected to the tiger and his odd relationship with his mother, a religious nut job who refuses to let him go to school. The characters are really well written and have a depth to them that propels the story forward.

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{Man, these pics of Busey never get old}

There isn’t much gore, which was kind of a disappointment. I would have liked to have seen a bit more tiger mauling myself. A lot of the death scenes are left to the imagination, you know, tiger attacks, camera pans away, camera comes back, victim is gone, wash, rinse, repeat. There’s also a lot of tiger first person which cuts out too much of the action for my tastes. The little that they do show is done well enough, though what they show would be easy for anyone with basic FX knowledge to pull off. Another thing that bothered me was that the relationship between the boy and the tiger is never really explained. Their connection is shown again and again throughout the film, but no question is ever answered as to why. I would have liked a couple of answers on that one. The only other bad thing I can say about the film is that it does occasionally get a little too slow, though not slow enough to drag the entire film down.

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{There are few situations scarier than being under a car with Gary Busey}

If you’re in the mood for a good killer animal film than look no further. While only a Scifi channel (or Syfy or whatever they want to call themselves to distract from the fact that their channel sucks) movie, it’s probably one of the better ones they’ve managed to make. As far as animals running amuck go, you can’t do much better than Maneaters.

 

 

The Undead Review

 

 

 

Directed By: Gary Yates (Eye of the Beast, High Life)

Starring: Gary Busey (Predator 2, Succubus: Hell Bent), Ty Woods (The Haunting in Connecticut, The Lazarus Project), and Sarah Constible (Night Travelers, The Stone Angel)

Released By: Peace Arch Entertainment Group, Paquin Entertainment Group, Buffalo Gal Pictures, and RHI Entertainment

Release Year: 2007

Release Type: Television Movie

MPAA Rating: TVMA

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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