Based on the journals of Dale S. Rogers from the 1970s and going back to an old legend, The Wild Man of the Navidad is set in Sublime, Texas where Dale (Justin Meeks) lives on a ranch by the Navidad River. He lives with his wife Jean (Stacy Meeks) who is confined to a wheelchair and does not speak, and then there is Jean's carer Mario (Alex Garcia) who is often abusive of his duties when Dale's back is turned. The locals of Sublime are itching for Dale to open the gates and give them access to the woods around the Navidad River for hunting but Dale knows something is out there and is reluctant to acquiesce.
The wild man of the title is akin to the legends of big foot and wanders the land around the Navidad River killing whatever it can find. Dale's ranch is under threat but each day he leaves a piece of meat outside for the wild man which seems to placate it and keeps Dale, Jean and Mario from harm. However, Dale finds money is tight and he bows to the demands of the locals who begin to venture out into the surrounding lands to hunt. Very soon the wild man begins attacking the locals and though initial sightings are dismissed, it soon becomes clear that there is a threat to Sublime and it's time to do something about it.
The legend of big foot has always been a fascinating one I remember from my youth but The Wild Man of the Navidad just doesn't really tap into that mystery at all. Beneath the declarations that this is fact-based we have just another monster movie with the wild man himself appearing to be just a guy with a coat over his head. Fair enough, the wild man is pretty useful with his claws but taking him down isn't all that hard and when we reach the film's conclusion it all feels a bit anti-climactic.
The Wild Man of the Navidad is an interesting idea but the execution here is a let-down. The earliest tales of the wild man sound more interesting than these more recent sightings. A film exploring the earliest origins may have been a better bet in my opinion. As it is, this becomes just another monster in the woods story and beyond the heavy bloodshed there isn't all that much to it.