Bullet Points: Man Vs.
I am a big fan of the plethora of survival reality series that we have on TV. SurvivorMan was always my favorite because he seemed like he wasn’t pretending to survive, but actually doing what was needed to live. Bear Grylls drinks his own piss and jumps off waterfalls but Les Stroud would have just walked around that shit and boiled some water from a puddle. Man Vs. plays off the genre that I love to put the surviving star in a position where surviving is made a bit more difficult.
Synopsis: As host of his own hit TV series, ‘MAN VS’, Doug Woods is forced to fend for himself for five days in remote locations with no crew, food, or water, only the cameras he carries on his back to film his experiences. Doug’s in the remote woods for a routine episode, until he’s awoken by an earth-shaking crash. Things get weirder as it becomes clear Doug isn’t alone. Someone or something is watching him. MAN VS is a gripping ‘found footage’ thriller about one man’s extraordinary desire to survive at all costs. via IMDB.com
- Lights, Camera, Action: The opening of Man Vs. spends a considerable amount of time leading us into the world of its star Chris Diamantopoulos, who plays Doug Woods. Doug is the Bear Grylls of the show and his newest expedition into the wild is one that could make or break his career. His crew send him up into Northern Ontario, where it’s cold as shit and there are these really strange stores called Canada Tire that sell way more than just tires. It’s very confusing people! Doug’s marriage isn’t in the best place, either. So there is added stress and anxiety as he leaves his home to hang out in the woods for a week eating roots and sleeping next to a fire.
- Surviving: One of my favorite things about Man Vs. was that while it wasn’t exactly fast-paced action, it built he character up from the beginning and it never stopped believing that it was a survival reality show. He continues to film stuff even though there are plenty of reasons that he should be getting the hell out of Dodge, because he knows how important the episode is for his career. He even spends the time on multiple occasions to train us on techniques for setting traps and starting fires. Not once does he drink his own pee, though.
- A Mouth Full: It’s not a total one man show but the major bulk of the movie is carried by star Chris Diamantopoulos. His name is super long and I don’t know if I’m more impressed that he didn’t shorten it for his career or by how fast I typed it up. His greatest success has probably been on the show Silicon Valley but I remember him most as the cameraman who was trying to bang Pam Halpert on one of the later seasons of The Office. He has a likeable face… if that makes sense. Kinda like a better looking Paul Rudd.
- Wolves, Bears, and Something Else: Doug makes it into the woods and almost immediately finds bear tracks and sees some wolves. It’s pretty much a nightmare situation for surviving in the woods. He doesn’t freak out, though, but part of that reason is because it becomes clear that someone or something is stalking him. It ain’t no Predator, though! I kept wanting a red laser dot configuration to appear on his chest but instead we’re mostly teased by the prospect of him getting mauled by something.
- Don’t Forget Your Flash: There are multiple movies that I’ve seen over the years that show flash cameras having a serious negative effect on creatures of all kinds. Let that be a lesson to you, folks. Leave your guns and pepper spray at home and just carry a flash camera. Not really…. always carry AT LEAST one gun and a few ninja stars.
Surviving this review shouldn’t have been too hard. Why not check out these Bonus Bullet Points:
- Chess playing forest creatures don’t scare me. I’ll be worried when they start playing Monopoly. Most overrated game EVER!
- If you’re in the woods and you see some wolves you should probably stick closer to your fire. Just sayin’.
- If you’ve ever wanted to learn to skin a rabbit and don’t know how to use YouTube, this movie is for you.
The Verdict: Man Vs. is a unique movie in that it takes an often seen situation of a guy surviving in the woods alone and throws in some scary situations for him to deal with. Chris Diamantopoulos is likeable and carries the movie through the 3/4 of it that doesn’t include him running for his life. If you’re looking for a movie to get your heart racing this probably isn’t it but if you like shows like SurvivorMan, Dual Survival, or Man Vs. Wild then you’ll probably enjoy this flick.