After watching Swamp Thing last night it was time for his brother from another comic book mother – Man-Thing. This one was directed by Brett Leonard, the guy who brought the world the light years ahead of its time Lawnmower Man and a host of visual effects breakthroughs over the years. Really feel like he should direct more films. His stylistic approach alone makes anything he is involved with worth a view. Why he took on Man-Thing is anyone’s guess, but I, for one, am glad he did.
This flick weaves a tried and true story, a cautionary tale of what happens when you rape nature. Nature will f*ck people up via mutants, frogs, giant roosters or ancient Seminole legends. It’s a ‘70s thing, which is the decade that the comic came from. Makes sense, right? Go Nature, you sly bitch.
In this case, Nature goes with the Seminole harbinger of death known only as Man-Thing, which might be the least awesome name for any character ever. It’s a man, no, it’s a thing. No it’s Man-Thing! The swamp monster is awoken after a fat ass oil tycoon puts a drill right in the heart of the “dark water” which is sacred to the Native Americans. A new Sherriff is hired who immediately hooks up with a law breaking school teacher hottie. Together they set out to crack the case of why one in two people go missing in the small town of Bywater, only to turn up later with tree branches jammed through rotting faces.
Oh, if you wondering why the town is called Bywater, it’s because it’s by the water. Get it? That’s a real joke from the movie.
Unlike, Swamp Thing (made 23 years earlier), this movie has a decidedly more bloody and sinister approach. The gore set pieces are extremely vile and disturbing. Top notch stuff for the gorehounds among us. The biggest complaint being that while the set pieces are gruesome, the actual deaths are mostly CGI of the cheap variety. But hey, this was a low budget flick and Leonard does a good job of concealing the monster early on to build the suspense. A tree branch slither here. A random spike through a chest there. But never a complete shot of the beast until late in the film. It’s good, because had the monster been in the whole time it would have been less sinister and much less frightening. Also, the monster isn’t all CGI, just his tentacles and what not. Smart move and a good mix of effects. Less is almost always more in horror. I should write that down in a book or something.
There is plenty of fun to be had as well. Shot in Australia with Australian actors isn’t funny by itself, but the Southern accents they attempt to pull off are. But the actors for the most part do an admiral job playing their b-movie roles to cheesy perfection. Everyone fits the caricature well, from the wise Indian Shaman dude to the redneck brothers – all is good in stereotypeville.
There’s nothing new of ground-breaking in Man-Thing, but it is a worthy creature feature / Slasher / Nature revenge flick.
Snore Factor: ZZ