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Movie Review: Man Vs. (2015) Survivalist Horror

Updated on April 21, 2022
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Vanessa is a square-screen junkie that loves to find overlooked movie gems that get hidden in the flood of things to see.


The Plot

Doug Woods (Chris Diamantopoulos) is the main character, in fact, given the rest of the cast is barely there, there is no need to mention anyone else.

In Man Vs. Doug embarks upon a five-day wilderness survival trek with a backpack, some camera gear - and a chess board, as the web series dictates, he is not allowed anything else.

After the first night, something is off about his camp area. Strange noises and odd things begin to happen. What or who is stalking Doug?

What on Earth is going on out here?
What on Earth is going on out here? | Source

Quick Movie Info

  • Movie Title: Man Vs.
  • Director: Adam Massey
  • Writer: Adam Massey wrote the story and Thomas Michael wrote the screen play
  • Date of Release: June 3, 2015, in the UK.
  • Run Time: 87 minutes.

Chris Diamantopoulos plays Doug Woods. A guy with a name to suit his surroundings
Chris Diamantopoulos plays Doug Woods. A guy with a name to suit his surroundings | Source

My Thoughts on Man Vs.

I liked Man Vs. I would even watch it again either by myself or to make someone else watch it too. I wish some of the promotional posters didn’t give so much of the game away because finding a film that doesn't go where you expect it to doesn't happen all that often like this does.

Some critics say it’s "rough around the edges" or "they obviously had a low-budget," but I’m unsure a big budget could do better, I felt they used what they had really well, and sure the CGI effects are a little on the underdone, but for me, it didn't take away from the great movie that it was.

It’s quite low on gore if you like your horror tame. There was restraint used in the story-telling, just enough to make you think nothing of it but know that something is amiss. For a little while, early on, I didn’t see it coming – I thought run-of-the-mill scary beast in the woods. Scary wolf in the woods. Scary pack of wolves in the woods. Scary bear in the woods, scary murderer in the woods.

Can’t be a pack of wolves or a lone wolf, they can’t climb trees. Can’t be a bear—bears can’t play chess. Can’t be a well…… You better stop guessing or I risk a spoiler alert…..Let me say this though – not your average man alone in the woods horror movie.

The subtlety of ensuring you know that he is far enough out in the wilderness to not be able to quickly go back to civilization is well told through the narrative of Doug himself. Doug has no phone signal and listens to a message that was left on his phone from his wife and kids, humanizing him and ensuring we feel connected to Doug, I certainly did in this— he was very relatable. His nonchalant attitude of the film itself gives a certain relief for a moment. It’s just five days and easy money, it’s for his show. He’s a celebrity, what could go wrong, his whole crew is just a day's trek away?

Tiny details such as his chess pieces being moved and his traps being altered are used to keep you on edge throughout the film without much really happening on-screen.

At first, Doug just keeps on keeping on, someone is surely just messing with him, but as more and more weirdness descends upon his situation, the slow-burn picks up the pace, like one of the rabbits he should have had for dinner on the second night. The camera work is fantastic, crossing over from found footage style to the objective point of view and it creates the sensation that while he is filming himself, something is watching him.

The ending is a source of contention on the internet. Love, hate, discontent, pleasure—I suggest not reading about the ending and avoiding anything marked with *spoiler alert* just see it for yourself and make your own decision.

If you like your people vs nature thrillers with lots of added thrill, this will be something you enjoy.

I give Man Vs. 4 rock rabbit traps out of 5.

The Trailer - Man Vs (The Non-Spoiler Version)

If you were alone in the woods, would you play chess with yourself?

See results

Bear Grylls Vs Doug Woods—Similarities?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Doug Woods.Bear Grylls is a British television celerity, famous for hosting the show Man Vs. Wild.
Doug Woods.
Doug Woods. | Source
Bear Grylls is a British television celerity, famous for hosting the show Man Vs. Wild.
Bear Grylls is a British television celerity, famous for hosting the show Man Vs. Wild.

No matter the type of genre you like, you may have seen Chris Diamantopoulos

He's been in Law and Order twice.
He is Michael Day in Robot Chicken.
Was in CSI.
He was in Hannibal.
He played Brian in The Office.
Played Jason Barone in The Sopranos.
He played 3 characters in American Dad (Guy, Italian Man, Man in Supermarket.)
He played 2 characters in Arrested Development.
Had a role in Charmed.
He was in Silicon Valley.
He was Mr Chris in About a Boy.
Is The Green Arrow in Batman.
He was Moe in The Three Stooges.
Was in Nip Tuck.
Is Steve in Frasier.

Just one half of the filmography Chris Diamantopoulos stars in.

© 2017 Movie Whisperer


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