Movie Review by Siobahn Harris
Being a fan of shows like Destination Truth and Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates, I thought this would be a fun movie to watch. My first impression is that it’s basically Man Vs. Wild but made into a horror movie. So, for those who thought, “Man! Bear Grylls is a douche and I wish he was attacked in the woods,” should watch this movie. Now, I wouldn’t really call this a horror movie but more of a science fiction thriller. However, since it is listed as a horror movie on both Netflix and Hulu, I decided to review it. Also, if you are a fan of blood and gore, like myself, don’t watch this movie. They seem to go out of their way to not include any blood.
It all starts with the host of a survival television show, Doug Woods (Chris Diamantopoulos), being dropped off in… well, the woods. He is there filming season three of his show, so by now he knows what he is doing. On the first night, he felt what he can only assume was an earth quake while he was sleeping. The next day, he began noticing some pretty crazy things, like a huge split in the trees and a bunch of dead fish. As the days go on he is quickly realizes that he isn’t alone out there. Things like food being stolen and shrieks in the night give him the feeling that it isn’t wolves. His show turns from a survival of the woods to a survival of the mysterious creature. He loses communication with his crew, there is a lack of food, and it is very clear that the creature is not only intelligent but is also hunting him.
There are many parts of this film that is like a found footage movie, if you aren’t into that, you probably won’t like this movie.
Okay, there were some awesome parts to this movie and some not so great parts of this movie.
Let’s go over the bad stuff first, for one, I will say again, it’s not horror. I hate that it is listed as a horror movie because I would never consider a thriller movie with no jump scares and very little blood, horror. Something that really left me confused was when he was skinning a rabbit. They showed most of this scene and I was pretty impressed with that but there was absolutely no blood. Is that normal? I mean, I don’t go around skinning rabbits so I have no way of knowing but I’m pretty sure rabbits have blood, right? Odd.
Then there was the music. I had no problem with the songs picked but the music was so incredibly loud that I had to continuously turn it down and then back up to hear the quiet voices.
It was a little slow. We were 45 minutes in with no actual attacks and no creature, which left me thinking that it was going to be like The Blair Witch Project and never show the villain. However, that far in we did discover that the creature was not just super intelligent but also enjoys a good game of chess.
Random stunt double scene. There is a scene where Doug is sprinting away from an attack and for some odd reason, there is an obvious stunt double doing the running. I mean, seriously, he is just running. I don’t understand the reason for using the stunt double or why no one noticed just how clearly we could all tell that it wasn’t Chris Diamantopoulos.
The reveal of the creature really let me down because it was all CGI (computer generated imagery). Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with a movie using CGI but this took me out of the feel of the movie. It took the fear out of it.
Let’s move on to the good stuff!
So, not a lot of good notes but here we go.
This dude is smart! It was interesting to see a movie where the main character actually uses his brain before and after doing things. At one point, he came up on water where all the fish were dead and floating on the top. He wanted to grab them to eat but then noticed a wolf smell them and walk away. Instead of grabbing an easy meal he said, “Maybe he knows something I don’t” and walked away. After being attacked and thrown into the freezing cold water, he climbs out and starts repeating survival tips to himself, “Get dry,” “Get back to base camp,” “Calm down,” “Start there.” It was something I felt seemed very natural and real.
He spends a good portion of the movie assuming that his crew is playing a prank on him. It’s heartbreaking when he gets attacked and begins calling out for them thinking they will come help. It gives the feeling of sadness and abandonment when no one comes for him.
The creature hunting him is smart, too. I can’t get enough of that. This creature is highly intelligent and uses his own survival techniques against him. It took his food away from him to leave him starving and weak. Then, the best part of the entire movie, after he records himself showing how to make a trap to catch small animals, he later stumbles into a large version of that trap set up to catch him. It was such a beautiful touch to show what he is up against. I loved that!
Did I like this movie, yes. Would I recommend it to those looking for true fear, no. Look people, we are looking for real horror, true fear, blood and guts, and a small amount of jump scares but we don’t get that with this movie. So while it was a good watch, it didn’t bring the True Fear I was looking for.