When a mysterious murder rampage begins, it's up to an ex-FBI profiler (and now small town sheriff) to keep the populace safe. Dean Cain, however, as that cop has no easy job of it with libidinous teenagers and hillbilly poachers to contend with in his spare time. 2009's "Maneater" finally arrives on DVD (have you been waiting patiently?) and provides rather undistinguished B-movie monster mayhem. Native American lore once again takes the blame for the killing spree--as the culprit seems neither human or animal. Might it be the mythological Wendigo, a cannibalistic creature that possesses man, who is responsible for the modern day carnage? As there are plenty of Native American actors in the cast to relate stories of yore, you can be assured it's a safe bet. But can the creature be stopped? Can Cain come to terms with his tumultuous past? And just who is going to get topless next? These are just a few of the burning questions that will be answered in this watchable, but completely unremarkable, horror epic.
There's not much more to relay about the plot. Cain, a wreck over the disappearance of his wife, holds tight reign over his teenage daughter. Their relationship seems sweet enough until the plot demands her to be rebellious--kicking it with the new boy and hanging out with loose girls who like to expose their chests. The first thirty minutes of the film plays almost like a teen slasher film what with all that nubile frolicking. The picture reaches the height of ridiculous hilarity when one of the young girls is taken by the beast (from her second story bedroom window). The seven remaining teens head out into the isolated woods to camp out overnight. A brilliant plan, to be sure, made even more delightful by what actually happens! All in all, Cain stumbles around in anguish (due to that tortured past) while the suspect list dwindles (in truth, the resolution of who is the Wendigo is pretty irrelevant to any sort of drama).
So, let's break it down. Creature conception is fine. Early shots (at a distance or where the monster isn't fully revealed) are creepy and effective enough. The more we see as the film progresses, the less it works. Gore factor isn't particularly impressive for you blood and guts lovers. The film poses about as many questions as it answers. I won't go into the many lapses of logic that adhere to this screenplay--but will address the biggest concern in my mind. The Wendigo mystique and legend isn't a new phenomenon. Wouldn't it have been killing over the past decades (enough to empty this little hamlet)? What's it been doing all this time? If you like this type of horror film, there are certainly better options available. It's not the worst (a couple of the kids were pretty good--given the right material, they might have something to show), it just offers nothing new to an already overstuffed genre. I've seen it before--and better. KGHarris, 6/11.