Maneater/Unnatural (2015)

Director: Hank Braxtan
Starring: James Remar, Sherilyn Fenn, Ron Carlson, Graham Greene, Gregory Crux .USA. 1h 29m

A year after his gross toxic adventure featuring a group of strong femme friends in Chemical Peel (2014), Hank Braxtan is back with a similar environmental disaster movie, but this time a similar uncaring tech company aren’t illegally transporting chemicals but instead they have something dangerous brewing in their icy labs.

There seems to be a drive within Braxtan to warn us of the dangers of covert labs and the dark secret organizations who are totally ruthless with their chemical waste and with arcane unrelenting needs to control nature. In the opening scene we have a gleaming smile from the cult actor Ray Wise who is the spokesman for Clobirch claiming to be an environmentally conscious company they have everyone’s interests at heart.. But no one is fooled.

After the Verhoeven styled corporate advert we see the dark side of the project, a scientific team are ripped apart by a oversized polar bear (the one you possibly noticed on the movie poster) and it’s clear that this genetically modified beast is going to be quite a handful, but Braztan does something strange and ads in another idea, one based in folklore but it equates to the same outcome and just stuffs up the plot unnesserality. It seems the locals have an ancient tale of a creature known as the Man Eater which crops up hungrily in the winter.. but we already know that this lab creature is the killer, unless maybe the ancient tribes had labs I dunno..

James Remar and his Indigenous friends (Graham Greene, Gregory Crux +) have to babysit a pushy photographer and his bimbo models while they take photos of luxury furs (see this could have been the story, the native man eater would see his kindred animals being flaunted and go all Texas Chainsaw in revenge). During the first photo shoot a strange creature breaks through the ice pulling a model though, almost like that scene in Nightmare on Elm Street but without blood and the others are all slowly picked off one by one by this unnaturally large and smart polar bear. You guessed it, this is like Jaws with Fur.

Fear What You Made

Considering how much I like Chemical Peel I did have high hopes with his feature, James Remar is a blessing on the screen, but doesn’t get enough screen time to save the movie from itself, in fact it’s a little insulting that someone which is track record has to take on these roles.

With the messy storyline the film does have its moments, and uses some cool effects to get it all across but the movie just doesn’t go all the way to deliver a powerful movie. it’s a bit wishy washy in its attempts and ends up being partly about conservation, partly about the western worlds attempt to dominate native cultures, there’s a touch of stalking creature horror but just not enough of all the elements, and on top of this shambles there a distinct lack of gore and all the nasty things we’ve become accustomed too.

It certainly passes the time, it’s not as ridiculous as Sharknado or a similar disaster monster movie but it’s only a step away, but kudos to the cheeky ending, well played there.

Rating: 3/10
Related: The Thing (1982), Thaw (2009), Chemical Peel (2014), Jaws (1975)
Lists: Icetastrophe Cinema
Spotlight: James Remar

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