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Movie Review – The Wild Man of the Navidad (2021)

I loved the first two minutes of The Wild Man of the Navidad. The ominous music, the sounds of nature, the slow pan across the river, and the narrator’s voice all work together to create an authentic and creepy feel to a legend that might be true. William “Mac” McBride’s deep voice and drawl makes one wonder if he’s simply recounting the legend of the Wild Man or if he’s trying to warn anyone who will listen. Talk about atmospheric horror. Unfortunately however, it was so well done that everything past the title card pales in comparison.

The Wild Man of the Navidad is similar to the legend of sasquatch; however, it’s contained to the banks of the Navidad River of Sublime, Texas.

Justin Meeks directs, writes and stars as Dale S. Rogers. The portrayal of Rogers shows him as a cowardly and dishonest person, which calls into question the accuracy of his journals, which the movie is said to be based on.

A lot of this movie is spent meandering at the local watering hole, with various townsfolk hunting on Dale S. Roger’s land, and the Roger household. This approach is fairly problematic however, since there’s literally nothing interesting to see with any of these character,. In fact, so little happens in this film that I feel like the only reason to include a character like Mario Jalisco (played by Alex Garcia), is to try and liven things up. He’s the disgusting caretaker of Jean Rogers (Stacy Meeks), Rogers’ invalid wife, who gets off on smelling Jean’s undergarments and drugging her in order to take advantage of her.

They try to paint Dale in a sympathetic light after he loses his job struggles to afford to take care of his wife and the property. But Dale is such a passive character that its difficult not to feel more frustrated than sorry for him. Justin’s performance of the character is also so small and quiet that he fails to carry the film.

I appreciate that they wanted to do a throwback to the ‘70s grindhouse film. They even hold back on showing the monster (like Jaws) to build the tension. Unfortunately, they do this for so long that by the time it was revealed, I no longer cared. The use of an HD camera on a shoestring budget doesn’t help this production. Considering the font choice used in the opening credits, I’m surprised they didn’t use a grainy filter on the film or just use a filmstock camera.

Interestingly, The Wild Man of the Navidad was produced by Kim Henkel who wrote and produced The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – my favorite scary movie. Texas Chainsaw Massacre left me so unnerved and unsettled that I’ve only seen it the one time. I can confidently say that this will also be my only viewing of The Wild Man of the Navidad, although on this occasion its because it’s a terrible movie.

Rating: 1/5.


Lawr_avThe writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511


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