Doug Woods is the star of reality outdoor survival TV show Man Vs, basically he’s an economy Bear Grylls who gets dumped out in the wild and eats bugs for ratings. On the brink of a new network deal Doug heads for an isolated island in the woodlands on Northern Ontario with only his cameras and a travel chess set for company.
It all goes to plan for the first night and then the weird stuff kicks in, there are strange noises and rabbits disappear from traps, at first Doug thinks it must be a wolf or a bear, but what really freaks him out is when he gets back from hunting to discover someone has made a devious counter move on his chess set. Is it a backwoods psycho or is it something far worse. Thankfully it is something much, much worse and Doug discovers that whatever it is has picked up a few tips from observing him trapping and skinning a bunny. Ray Mears better watch out!
Yes essentially Man Vs is Predator relocated to Canada. The build to the big reveal is tense and well-managed and the director has thankfully resisted the temptation to use Wood’s reality TV star status, to go too far down the found footage route, prefuring to slip in and out of the format when it suits the action, shooting Man Vs as a conventional big screen movie, so no to shaky camera (huzzah) and dodgy sound! . Diamantopoulous does a really good job of the cocky TV personality whose world falls apart when he realises he is up against something that is so completely out of his world, however when he finally encounters the alien, Man Vs veers very close to the Arnie alien action blockbuster, but the FX are not in the same league. That aside its quite fun, and there is a nice little tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window too.
A backwoods economy Predator with some nice original touches I five Man Vs a 555/666
Man Vs was released on DVD in the UK on 4 April