It’s no secret that I love Predator. I may not like every movie that features him, but he remains my favorite and most collected slasher. So, when I saw a movie with the tagline “Bear Grylls Meets Predator” and this cover:
… I got excited. Then I skimmed the synopsis: Doug is a professional survivor… host of his own hit TV series… gets dropped off in wilderness and must survive… no camera crew so he records the whole thing himself… strange things start happening and he realizes he’s not alone.” I’m completely in and bought it immediately. And recently, we screened it.
Overall, I enjoyed Man Vs. more than disliked it, but I still had some issues with it, the biggest one being that the movie was not found footage. It had the perfect conditions to be; one guy was already filming everything in the woods, we would just be seeing things through his lenses. It would have actually made the movie feel more like horror and less mild-action, as well as help the entire production out with the less-is-more principle. Honestly I was really disappointed about that.
One of the things I was really curious about was how the story would go about introducing the creature that Doug goes up against. First, we heard Predator-esque noises in the dark distance of the wilderness. But that’s not what tipped Doug off. These calls go by without a real second thought from our outdoors man, so that was really for the audience. But when the mysterious being starts making moves in a chess game that Doug had left out over night, he realizes he has company. And it was obviously a good move, because it got Doug really thinking. Okay… that was a pretty nonsensical way to let us know that the invading creature is tactical, but where the hell did it learn chess? Whatever, I guess that’s beside the point.
So the show within the movie continues. Doug performs all the usual steps: he's already built a shelter, talked about the environment and is on to setting up a crude trap in order to catch some protein. Later in the movie, he finds himself in a human sized version of his own trap, which makes me wonder why they tried to make this alien out to be cleaver and cunning, only to have him imitate Doug's most basic survival trap later? And why would he imitate human traps rather than use his own technology? I can't help but think of Predator in this situation, and I know it isn't fair to Man Vs. But then I realized if they didn't want people to think of Predator, they would have used the cover with the actual alien on it and avoided the confusion all together.
I can't lie, the reveal of the alien was not the best, which is why I seriously think the movie should have been found footage. They cloud have shown very little of it and had an excuse. Now when that movie does get made, I'll definitely watch it!