Maneater is a 2007 natural horror film that was produced by RHI Entertainment as a part of their production deal with Sci Fi Channel to produce a series of 10 natural horror films. Its stars Gary Busey, Ty Wood, and Ian D. Clark.
A black market truck is transporting a Bengal tiger along a trail in the woods on the Appalachian Trail and encounters a sleepwalking young boy named Roy Satterly(Ty Wood). The driver crashes and turns the truck over trying to avoid hitting him. The tiger is freed and, curiously, spares Roy and kills and eats the driver before taking rufuge in the woods. The next day, a man jogging with his girlfriend is attacked and killed by the tiger and his girlfriend, unaware of his death, alerts Sheriff Grady Barnes (Gary Busey), an aging and peace-loving, but capable sheriff. Barnes has the local vet try and track the missing jogger with his dog, but it spooks and, as he is about to continue tracking the jogger, Barnes is alerted that someone esle had gone missing from his deputy at his office.
Barnes drives to the home of a hermit named Cotty Washburn and, after following a drag trail, he finds Washburn's partial remains after the tiger had killed him. The coroner confirms he had been killed by an animal, but one far bigger than any of the native animals. Later, the tiger visits Roy's home and Roy sees it at his window with his flashlight. The next day, a man deer hunting is killed by the tiger without his friend nereby hearing anything. Barnes finds his half-eaten body and a pawprint from the tiger, which he has casted. After the vet confirms its from a Bengal tiger, Barnes orders his deputies out of the woods and calls a press conference to warn the public on state-wide TV. He advises that farmers go outside to do farmwork armed and in groups and for everyone else to stay inside until the tiger is killed. Mayor Hundt is angered by this, as the town's annual Corn & Apple Festival is about to start. Hundt tells Barnes to keep things quite, while still protecting the town. That night, the tiger visits Roy's home again. The next morning, Barnes is alerted by ones of his deputies, named Weinman, that Entertainment Weekly had posted a $10,000 reward for the head of the tiger on the internet, causing the town to be overun with inexperienced bounty hunters.
Barnes has the reward rescinded and later encounters Roy in the woods, while patrolling with Weinman. They gave chase, but were stopped cold by the sound of the tiger nearby. They find a scene where a photographer had been attacked by the tiger and find his photos of the tiger. The photos end up in the papers quickly and Mayor Hundt is again angered and informs Barnes that the governor is sending in the National Guard to kill the tiger. The festival ends up being a huge success. Barnes later meets Roy in the woods and warns him to stay indoors before taking him home and telling his mother, who keeps him isolated and teaches him the bible, the same warning. Seven National Guardsmen arrive, led by Sergeant Wenshiser, as does Colonel James Livingston-Graham(Ian D. Clark), a wise and experienced specialist of hunting man-eating tigers from England. Sergeant Wenshiser and his men arrogantly reject Barnes' offer to help and, when Barnes goes to talk with Graham, the latter states that the guardsmen would fail to kill the tiger and that he will start his hunt for it when they finish, before politely bidding Barnes good day.
When the guardsmen attempt to hunt for the tiger, it kills one silently and, when Wenshiser plans to bring in more troops, Graham appears and advises against that, before explaining that the tiger had attacked the guardsman from behind and crushed his windpipe, before dragging him backwards. Graham found the body and, as he left, he told the sheriff of his past where he lost a son to a tiger and stated that he couldn't simply pass along the knowledge of how to hunt a man-eater to Barnes as idol advice, before telling him to go tend to his people in town as a way to help him and leaving to track the tiger. Graham tracks the tiger to Roy's home, and laters meets Roy at a pond, where they discuss tigers. After Roy asks Graham if he is going to kill the tiger, Graham tells him he must because if he doesn't, it will only keep killing people as its a hunter that can't choose not to. Graham and Roy shake hands and Graham continues tracking the tiger. Deputy Weinman and her partner, Deputy Hundt, the mayor's son, later find an abandoned National Guard troop transport and discover that the two guardsmen had been attacked by the tiger, one being shot by accident by his partner and the other attacked and killed by the tiger. The tiger then attacked and killed Hundt before Weinman to get back to the car.
Sheriff Barnes arrives on the scene and drives back the press members present, before Colonel Graham arrives and explains that the tiger had attacked the guardsmen when they fired in the wrong direction, dragged one away after causing him to shoot his partner, and broke his neck, before proceeding to drag him further, and that the tiger crawled up to the patrol car and dragged away the deputy. Later, at another press conference, reporter Kathy Kurick reveals Graham was exiled from India after he failed for two years to kill his last tiger, in which the tiger killed over 200 people. Barnes visits Graham that night and he explains that the tiger was too elusive for him and that he became hated in India and was forced to relocate to England as his new home. Later, Roy dreams that the tiger killed Graham and runs to his tent to check on him. Graham escorts him to the store where his mother works and the tiger attacks and kills her when they arrive. Graham busts into the store and tells Roy to stay close to him. However, they are separated, and the tiger gets into the store and attacks Graham after he barely fails to kill it with his double rifle's two bullets. Barnes arrives on the scene after being alerted of a burglar alarm and is chased into the store by the tiger after seeing a blood trail.
Inside, Barnes finds Graham's hat and rifle, before hearing Roy calling out from outside. Barnes dives under the truck when the tiger attacks to protect Roy from it and, after the tiger jumps into the bed of the truck, tells Roy to run to his SUV as he grabs his pistol. Barnes shoots at the tiger several times, hitting a gas tank with his final shot, causing it to explode and kill the tiger. Graham appears beside the building, badly hurt, but alive. Barnes offers to let Graham live with him if he wants to stay in America, but Graham politely declines, saying that his hunting days are over and that it was time for him to go home. Sheriff Barnes and his wife, Mary, happily adopt the orphaned Roy, having never been able to have children.