Directed by Brett Leonard
Sheriff Kyle Williams....Matthew Le Nevez
Deputy Eric Fraser....Alex O'Loughlin
Rene LaRoque....Steve Bastoni
Teri Elizabeth Richards....Rachael Taylor
Frederic Schist....Jack Thompson
I’ve read comic books since I was a child, and I’ve enjoyed each and every one of the modern Marvel movies—even the much hated-upon ones like Daredevil and The Punisher. So when I stumbled upon this little-seen, straight-to-DVD Marvel title in the bargain bin at the local video store, I thought, this has got to be a slam dunk, right?
The film starts off like a run-of-the-mill slasher flick: a group of horny teens partying in the middle of nowhere. Two of them decided to frolic off into the wilderness (which just happens to be a swamp this time, instead of the usual forest), where she takes off her top and they have what is probably unprotected sex. And then, shock of shocks, the boy is killed.
Enter the new sheriff of this backwoods little bayou burg known as Bywater. Why? Because it’s “By the water,” get it? Bringing his big city attitude and experience to this small town, the last thing he expects is to be walking into a local feud between environmentalists and a polluting oil baron, much less an enormous missing-persons and murder mystery. But could the two somehow be related? All of the police reports list them as the victims of alligator attacks, while the unofficial belief is that a half-Native American hermit may be to blame. The question remains, however, how would an alligator or a crazed hermit kill a man by causing a tree branch to grow inside of him? (An even more pertinent question would be, who thought this would be a good idea?) Perhaps it has something to do with the old Seminole legend about the Spirit of the Swamp, angered when its home turf is invaded.
This would-be environmental warning-film doesn’t come off like a comic book movie at all, instead feeling like exactly what it is: a low-budget piece of B-grade horror garbage with cheap special effects, slow plotting, poor characterization, and a ridiculous looking monster. It’s a real shame that the filmmakers had so much source material, and this is the best they could come up with. I would have given up on it halfway through, but my dedication to you, my Midnite Minions, wouldn’t allow it.
Damn you all.
For comic-book completists only.
Man-Thing is currently ranked #40,993 in DVDs at Amazon.com. Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!