Maneater (2007)

Movie Title: Maneater

Year Released: 2007

Rated: Not Rated

Runtime: 1h 28min

Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror

Director: Gary Yates

Writer: Philip Morton

Starring: Gary Busey, Ian D. Clark, Ty Wood, Diana Reis, Kathryn Albertson, Evelyne Anderson, Mike Bell, Jessica Burleson, Mariam Bernstein, Sarah Constible, Marc Devigne, Kristen Harris, Aaron Hughes,

Review: When the remains of a missing hiker are discovered, Sheriff Grady Barnes (Gary Busey) is shocked to discover that the predator responsible for this gruesome act is actually a Bengal tiger. With this wild animal on the loose it's up to Barnes, a tiger hunter (Ian D. Clark), and a young boy (Ty Wood) to keep the community safe. Steer clear of the woods because you're certain to fall prey to a Maneater!

I must say, Maneater was not the movie I thought it was going to be. I watched it more for the absurd premise of Gary Busey battles a tiger, but it really isn't that at all. It's more of a drama of how do we keep the townspeople safe and out of the deadly jaws of this predator, and it has some tiger attacks thrown in for good measure. It's actually fairly well made, but the story kind of meanders too much. The tiger attacks are more off screen and viewers, along with the protagonists, are shown the aftermath of the carnage.

The two most impressive things about this flick are that a real tiger was used throughout the production and Gary Busey gives an honest-to-goodness grounded performance to his character of the put-upon sheriff. He really feels like he's troubled by this tiger problem and really sells it with subtlety and brooding frustration. He's great! I was really waiting for GB to go so over-the-top that the tiger would just surrender itself so Busey would just calm down. I was pleasantly surprised by Busey. He can be a good actor when he wants to be. I just wished he hadn't wasted his talents in Maneater.

The other problem with the movie is the fact that it has too many subplots. Some pay off, some don't, some are completely forgotten about, some don't matter to the plot in the least, and some are just in there to add characters so they can get mauled and maimed. But the biggest crime committed in this B-Movie is that it blatantly copies Jaws with the greedy mayor wanting to keep the Corn & Apple Festival on schedule even with a tiger on the loose and the sheriff desperately trying to keep his people safe. They even have a parade going on an I'm frothing at the mouth waiting for that rogue tiger to leap on in and start ripping this town a new one, but alas that was not to be. Probably too expensive to film, too risky to film, or maybe the tiger wouldn't come out of his trailer. Your guess is as good as mine. Oh, and the plotline with the ex-tiger hunter that was thrown out of Asia that comes to his same burg in search of redemption just doesn't gel. And it doesn't help that the guy looks like he's the hunter from the original Jumanji. So weird!

There are plenty of good creature features out there, it's a shame that Maneater is not one of them. It wastes a decent performance from Gary Busey and a real live tiger - Two unforgivable crimes in movies. It you don't believe me you can look it up!

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Based on the novel 'Shikar' by Jack Warner.


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