If you rate this film stand alone without knowing the storyline and local folklore background its obvious sub-par. However, given the creativity on what influence it is built upon as well as the local pride to what this film represented it's above average. How can any film represent the campfire stories in a frightening sense to those who have heard these stories for years? Usually most Boogey-Men and Big-Foot type character genres prove to be more spoof and B-level at best. I think it is important to appreciate this film with more of a tongue-in-cheek.
It is important to note Wes Craven's Swamp Thing was released in 1982 around that time Alan Moore revised Len Wein's original story to shape less hero protagonist and also (most importantly) built an atmosphereenvironment around the creature as home base in Terrebonne Parish, Houma, Louisiana. There are many elements to Terror in the Swamp (as we locals know it better as "Nutriaman") from the Swamp Thing. We can only assume Martin Folse was aware of this influence when he wrote the screenplay. In addition, a great deal of influence comes from local folklore of the Rougarou (also called Loup Garou and other names). The legend of this entity has been told here in the swamps since the beginning by French Settlers, Native Americans, Englishmen, and continues today. This film serves as the closest representation of visual re-creation of these stories.
Granted most B-level films actors usually require a stretch of imagination (which is vaguely a requirement of B-Level films in general). I find it noteworthy that some of the actors in this film can still be seen around town driving delivery trucks. Any kid that grew up here in the 80s will also have a degree of pride when the film hit the spotlight. I know even today, for those who experienced watching it on the big screen at Southland Mall (as I did), when you mention "Nutriaman" it always renders a smile.
Review by antistu from the Internet Movie Database.