You’ve probably heard this one before, so I’ll make the coverage of three from my latest streaming excursion quick.
MAN VS. (2015)
The question with Man vs. is…how much one-man found footage can you put up with while waiting for the money shots closer to the end?
What kept me glued to the screen is the fact that star Chris Diamantopoulos is kind of beautiful.
It’s kind of ridiculous.
It’s kind of impossible not to enjoy the fuck out of watching him talk to the camera for 80 minutes. It was like he was speaking right to me. Sigh.
Anyway, he plays a reality TV guy whose show has a simple premise – he’s dropped off in the middle of the wilderness and must survive for 5 days.
He spends a lot of time giving us lessons on survival. He sleeps. He catches animals. He prepares a rabbit for eating in a nasty, gratuitous butchering scene.
And occasionally, he gets signs that something is weird and he may not be alone in the jungle.
Really, it’s a lot of nothing to sit through, and the worst part is, he never gets naked. But he does get soaking wet and strips off his shirt briefly.
This moment of him getting wet is pretty wild and finally ups the tension. And I’m not just talking sexual tension. Shit gets crazy and he faces off against a hostile life form.
It’s CGI monster, but it’s definitely high-end CGI, so it looks pretty cool. There’s a sort of Predator feel to it. And our leading man does kick some monster ass as he loses his shit.
24 HOURS TO DIE ( 2016)
Take the popular theme of a group of strangers waking up in a room and learning they have to pretty much kill each other until only one remains standing, add a splash of Night of the Demons, and you have 24 Hours to Die.
From the beginning, it’s made clear to the audience that there’s some sort of evil organization—perhaps the military or the government—putting the people through this hell. They are initially dragged into the room by guys in hazmats, and they regularly receive instructional calls from a robotic voice on a cell phone they find in the room.
One by one, they begin to suffer from some sort of infection that very briefly turns them into white-eyed demons/crazies.
It’s almost comical when one character changes and simply chases the group in circles since they’re confined to one space.
There are a couple of cool transformation/attack scenes, but they can never be dwelled upon. Since there’s no way to escape these demonic freaks in the confined circumstances, each crazy has to be offed very quickly in order for the story to move ahead. Therefore, no chase scenes or surprise scares.
To propel the story forward, 24 Hours to Die is heavy on the dialogue, so even at 85 minutes long, it drags and leaves us with more drama than horror. However, there are plenty of hot guys!
THE DEMON (2016)
This one is basically an Asian indie version of Evil Dead that takes place on New Year’s Eve.
A guy brings his friends to spend the holiday in his uncle’s house—a house the uncle abandoned after his wife died.
They decorate a Christmas tree, ring in the New Year, and bicker over whether “Last Christmas” was a Wham! song or a George Michael solo track.
Meanwhile, one guy goes off to surprise them dressed as Santa, sparking the demonic possession! Shit. Demons got something against fat guys with big white beards…
While there’s some possession amongst the friends, it’s predominantly a female demon already in the house that does most of the terrorizing, including crawling on the ceiling and spider-walking down stairs.
She’s super gnarly and terrifying at first, but eventually she pops up in front of the camera so much that even the actress behind all the makeup seems to lose interest in trying to be convincingly scary.