Maneater is a 2007 natural horror Sci Fi original film that was produced by RHI Entertainment as part of a deal between them and Sci Fi Channel to produce a series of 10 natural horror films.
As a black market truck transporting a Bengal tiger travels through the woods on the Appalachian Trail, a young boy named Roy Satterly(Ty Wood) is sleepwalking on the road, paralleling the truck and the driver crashes trying to avoid him, freeing the tiger. The tiger spares the boy, but kills and eats the driver, before taking to the woods. SSyheriff Grady Barnes(Gary Busey), an aging and peace-loving, but capable Sheriff, is going about his usual day until he receives word that someone had gone missing, which rarely ever happens. Barnes has the local vet try and track the missing jogger, whose girlfriend reported his disappearance. The tracking dog becomes spooked, forcing Barnes and his deputies to continue where the dog left off, but Barnes gets word from his department that someone else has gone missing.
Sheriff Barnes drives to the home of a hermit named Cotty Washburn, who rarely leaves his home or property, doing so only to hunt and tend the garden. Barnes finds a drag trail near his rifle and follows it to his dismembered partial remains. The coroner confirms he had been killed by an animal, but says the animal was too big to have been a native one. Later, a hunter hunting deer is killed without his friend nearby hearing anything. When the authorities find his half-eaten body, Barnes sees a pawprint from the tiger beside it and has it casted. The vet identifies the animal as a Bengal tiger, shocking Barnes. Barnes orders all of his deputies out of the woods and calls a press conference to warn the public, telling those people who had to do farm work to go in groups and be armed and all others to stay inside until the tiger was killed. Mayor Hundt becomes angry with Barnes for doing that as their annual Corn & Apple Festival was about to start and tells the Sheriff not to start a panic, but to maintain town security quitely. That night the tiger visits Roy's home. Entertainment Weekly offers a $10,000 reward for the head of the tiger, causing the town to be overflown with inexperienced bounty hunters. Barnes gets the reward rescinded and forbids anyone from going in the woods and trying to hunt the tiger.
Later, while Barnes and one of his deputies, Weinman, patrol the woods, they encounter Roy and try to chase him down, but are stopped cold by the sound of the tiger roaring nearby. They find the scene where a photographer had been attacked and killed by the tiger. The photos he had taken end up in the paper quickly and the Mayor is again angry with Barnes and informs him that the governor is sending in the National Guard to kill the tiger. The Corn & Apple festival is a huge success nonetheless. Barnes has the scene of the tiger's most recently known kill, the truck driver found by the Mayor's deputy son, cleared out and the next morning six national guardsmen arrive, as well as Colonel James Livingston-Graham, a wise and experienced big-game hunter and tracker from England, who specializes in hunting man-eating tigers, having killed eleven in his career. The national guardsmen arrogantly refuse to use the sheriff's help and advice and when Barnes goes to Graham's tent nearby to tell him the area was restricted, Graham converses with him about tigers and states the guardsmen will fail to kill the tiger due to their arrogance, that he knows more about tigers and how to hunt them than anyone, and that he will start his hunt for the tiger when the guardsmen finish before bidding him a polite goodbye.
When the National Guardsmen attempt to hunt the tiger, it kills one silently and Graham appears and advises against sending for more troops since it will only put more lives at risk. Graham explains how the tiger had killed the guardsman and locates his body. As he leaves, Barnes wants to come with him and Graham tells him that he lost a son to a tiger in the past and that he can't simply pass the knowledge needed to hunt a man-eater along as advice, telling Barnes to look after his people in town as his way of helping Graham. Graham tracks the tiger through the woods to Roy's house, where the tiger had gone many times and meets him at the pond nearby where they discuss tigers and Graham becomes astonished with Roy's natural hunting instincts in the woods. When Roy asks Graham if he is gong to kill the tiger, Graham tells him he must because it can't choose not to hunt whatever is around it, including people. They shake hands and Graham continues tracking the tiger. Meanwhile, deputies Weinman and Hundt find an empty National Guard troop transport and Weinman discovers the two guardsmen had been attacked by the tiger, with one being shot by his partner and the other killed by the tiger. Deputy Hundt is then attacked and killed by the tiger as well.
Sheriff Barnes appears and drives back the reporters and shortly afterwards, Graham arrives and explains how the tiger had stalked and attacked the guardsmen and deputy. Later, at another press conference, a reporter reveals Graham had been exiled from India, his birth home, after he had failed for two years to kill a tiger that, in that time, killed over 200 people. Graham later explains to the Sheriff that the situation had been beyond his control. Roy later 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 in town and when they arrive, the tiger attacks and kills her. Graham breaks into the store with Roy, but they are separated, even though he told Roy to stay close to him. The tiger gets into the store and attacks Graham, with him barely failing to kill it with both shots he fires from his double rifle. Barnes arrives on the scene, alerted that a burglar alarm having gone off, but the tiger appears and chases him into the store. Barnes finds Graham's hat and rifle inside, as well as a blood trail. He finds Roy outside under a truck and dives under it to protect him as the tiger attacks. When it jumps into the bed of the truck, Graham has Roy run to his truck and attempts to shoot the tiger several times, hitting a gas tank with the final shot and causing it to explode and kill the tiger. Graham then appears beside the building, badly hurt, but alive. Barnes offers to let him stay with him if he wants to remain in America, but Graham politely declines, saying he needs to return home and that his hunting days are now over. Sheriff Barnes and his wife then happily adopt the orphaned Roy, having never been able to have children.