DVD: Maneater (2015)
A world at the peril of climate change, a remote scientific corporation base, genetic modification gone wrong, a big bad polar bear on the loose with a crazy cocktail of DNA and scared scientists being clawed to death. All of this is set up within the first 5 minutes of Maneater (AKA Unnatural), the latest DVD release from 101 Films that goes on sale today.
The action slows down after that and ‘bear vs human’ set pieces are a while incoming, but Director Hank Braxtan does a good job of keeping the tension palpable as a group of fashion models and their photographer are terrorised by the aforementioned genetically modified polar bear.
Martin Nakos (played by the always watchable James Remar) owns an Alaskan outpost that is the temporary home for a visiting fashion shoot…cue shots of girls in bikini’s outside in the snow. Though it has to be said that Braxton avoids any gratuitous nudity or sex scenes (that may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your sensibilities) and often treats the viewer to some beautifully shot scenes of the Alaskan landscape.
Dr Hannah Lindval (Sherilyn Fenn) works for Clobirch Industries (a bioengineering company) and is part of the team responsible for creating the crazed polar bear. When her vehicle crashes she is left to wander the frozen landscape before being found by Nakos and brought to the outpost. Cue her lying about the nature (see what I did there?) of her companies research and the danger that they are all in.
For a movie that wasn’t working with a huge budget the effects are serviceable and definitely a step above the majority of stuff that I see on the Syfy channel. I will admit that I would have liked to have seen more of the rampaging bear, but the extra time given to the characters did make me care a little more for them…except Ron Carlson who plays the obnoxious photographer Brooking, as I was constantly hoping that he’d be next to come ‘face to claw’ with the bear.
One scene in particular had me whooping with joy; I’ll not spoil it for you, but I’ll give you the heads-up to watch out for the arrival of Nakos part way through the movie and his cry of ‘Add this to your DNA’.
Maneater clocks in at under 90 minutes and didn’t outstay its welcome with me. I loved the way that it was shot, and despite being a little light on some of the polar bear carnage that I was expecting, I enjoyed my time with it.
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes with) from a disc kindly supplied by 101 Films.