I’m always down to see new film, and I’m always interested in seeing low budget and no-budget horror films. So when I was told about Manhater, I was excited to check it out. I’m always happy to see that there are people outside of the big Hollywood studios, creating horror film for the love of it, or so it seems. This film written and produced by Phil Calderone, doesn’t look amazing at first glance, but if you stick it out, you see some cool effects, despite lack of budget and lack of major film studio, and major actors.
The plot of Manhater is simple, an abused woman gets the ultimate revenge, although she’s not sure how it’s being done. She visits a fortune teller, who acts more like a witch, and gives her a potion that brings forth a beast that is controlled by her feelings, and her past lovers get brutally scratched, clawed, and killed to death.
The movie looks like a made for television movie, well, a Mexican made for tv movie. The first thing you’ll notice is the way it is filmed, it has a very “tv” drama feel, and some casual fans will find that distracting, but if you can get past the lack of visualization, you’ll be able to peel back the layers to something more. The editing is good, even if the sound suffers from time to time. So while it might not be a big budget affair, the movie feels like a “movie” and not another wasted straight to dvd affair, like other films I’ve reviewed for this site.
The kills are all pretty standard, clawing, scratching, not too unlike a werewolf movie, except that there are some nice gore effects and no transformation sequences like the latter. The gore effects are great, simply because it’s not CG it’s real gore effects, real looking blood, and guts. That’s a plus indeed for me, because as of late, a lot of the higher budget films have fake blood that’s not only fake, it’s computer generated.
Manhater has a good amount of nudity, and can never be shown on television, unless it was edited extremely well. I liked the gratuitous nudity, even if it was some of the most “unsexy” nude sequences I’ve seen in a while.
Is Manhater a Scary Film?: No.
I didn’t find the film scary. Sure I’m all up for demon possession, ghosts, boobs, sex and violence, but this film lacks a certain hard to define “it” factor. It’s not the low budget, and it’s not the story as a whole, it just seems lacking, and it’s hard to tell where.
The film drops the ball in the third act, with twists and turns that just seem forced. While I appreciate the “swerve” I don’t know if I liked it enough to gloss over it. The ending was interesting, and it left it open to a sequel, but it just didn’t feel complete when it was all said and done.
This independent film gets a good nod from me, simply because it’s different. You’re not going to find this film too predictable, and horror fans will appreciate the thought that went into the film. The editing is good, and the gore is far better than many recent scyfy and straight to dvd films I’ve seen. While I don’t think the film is that great, I think it’s worth a once over, and is definitely better than the box cover leads you to believe.
Here is a trailer for the independent film Manhater: