Agents of an oil tycoon vanish while exploring a swamp marked for drilling. The local sheriff investigates and faces a Seminole legend come to life: Man-Thing, a shambling swamp-monster whose touch burns those who feel fear.
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Bywater's native Seminole Indians believe the swamp will be bloodily revenged by its guardian spirit, a 'dark warrior', for its 'rape' by Frederic and son Jake Schist's oil-drilling, sold out by their own late chief Ted Sallis. The rig is illegally protested against by hot-head ecologists, who get blamed for vandalism on the site. New, outsider sheriff Kyle Williams suspects immediately local adolescent Billy James wasn't eaten during love-making there by a cayman but by a mysterious monster, which already made and soon makes new bloody victims in weird, inconsistent ways. Several people add to the danger. Written by
Although filming was originally intended to be done in New Orleans, budget realities forced the production to be relocated to Australia. They were the first production to use the new Kurnell studios, and enlisted regional actors for virtually every role. See more »
[as he's getting bitten by mosquitoes while exploring the swamp]
Sheriff Kyle Williams:
Smart, Kyle. Take the Bywater job. Get a tan...beer belly...lots of sun. Get fuckin' eaten alive.
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First thing's first - see the review "pretty decent" - in many ways, this hits the nail on the head exactly, pointing to the good atmosphere, surprisingly decent effects and effective gore. It's also much better written than this will be...
There are only two things I really disagree with in terms of that review - only 5 stars seems a mite stingy, in my opinion. This movie isn't going for the Oscars - hell, it ain't going for a cinema release either! - but it's a great little example of the low-budget monster movie, showing that even within tighter finances, you can make an effective popcorn monster feature. My own mark sets this in the context of the genre - in its field, this works well, and deserves a little more credit.
My only other quibble is the negative reviews of the acting. Again, nobody's gone all 'Method' for the purposes of this feature, but the main lead is competently brooding in a sort of pretty boy nice hairdo way. The love interest is less entertaining but still hits okay, phoning in a typical feisty/spiritual/nurturing but still tough performance. However, most fun is to be had from the furniture chewing local colour - never knowing when they might act again, the surrounding cast tear into their caricatured roles, and quite clearly have a good laugh in the process.
So, despite the extremely dodgy title ("Man-Thing" - really??), take it for what it is - a monster movie on a tight budget - and you may actually be surprised.
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