Man Vs. follows a reality show host who, after starting a solitary expedition, finds himself up against an unseen force that may be more dangerous than anything Earth has to offer.
Man Vs. Review
You can divide horror movies into countless categories. One such way would be by its choice of escalation. Some horror movies, generally gory slashers, will start the killing early and carry it through right to the end. Other horror movies choose the slow build. This method is commonly seen in creature features, monster movies and haunted houses. (I've never understood why every haunted house has this gradual escalation in intensity...you'd think some would just be more immediate in their response to unwelcome guests...but what do I know?)
In the case of Man Vs., we get the slow build to the creature reveal. Some movies do this because the atmosphere created strengthens the plot and the eventual finale. Other films, like Man Vs., are forced into it because their budget can't afford significant screentime with the monster. This choice of storytelling requires the proper balance of tension applied in various ways in order to draw the viewer's attention until the climax. Man Vs. is able to maintain this for moments, but is too-often inconsistent. But even with a flawless build, it's all for not if the climax/creature falls flat.
This film's budget wasn't enough that it could scrape together the dough for a reasonable finale. Our creature falls in the category of SyFy Original CG effects, at best. Its design is bland, the animation worse, and was too dependent on its source material, Predator, which is, embarrassingly superior. And I mean that it's embarrassing because Predator doesn't even owe Man Vs. a comparison.
But, let's keep the budget in mind. With that thought, the film isn't that bad. While many would categorize it as found footage, this is one of those films that refused to restrain itself to the first-person view, even on the limited budget. There are plenty of benefits of the found footage perspective. It can make the scary moments feel more personal. But the genre is also severely limiting to scope and perspective. This film refused to limit itself to just that mode, switching back and forth between first and third person fairly seamlessly, and I respect the decision greatly.
The lead actor did a respectable job in his role. Let's consider that many argue that solitary acting for the majority of a film's runtime is severely difficult to pull off effectively. Look at Castaway, where Tom Hanks is [rightfully] applauded for his solo performance. Man Vs. doesn't come close to that, by any means, but it was solely dependent on the performance of one actor, and the man held his own.
I wasn't attracted enough to the almost-satirical plot to retain a strong interest in the outcome. There wasn't much surprise in the development of the plot. Its slow build was predictably leading to disappointment. I couldn't latch on. But it made the failed creature attempt all the more bearable for it. I can't say that's a good thing.
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 3/10
Film Quality: 3/10