Reality TV – love it or hate it, there’s no escaping it. We’ve seen shows about wannabe pop stars, housewives, drag queens and anything else you can think of… but how real is reality TV really? The makers of these shows want ratings and money, so that means editing and orchestrating events to suit their needs to end up with the most dramatic TV possible. 2Survive, directed by Tom Seidman asks “how far can reality TV go to achieve this”? Good premise right? Well, you’d think so… but unfortunately it never lives up to this potential.
The film begins with six contestants on make believe reality TV show Survive entering the Mojave desert in the hope of following four clues that will lead them to a cash prize of $100,000. All contestants are wearing helmet cams, and the film is made up of supposedly compiled footage from these cameras, plus a few cameras set up at various points on their journey.
The beginning of the film got me excited… we’re introduced to the contestants and they’re a wacky lot, made up of quite wonderful stereotypes. There’s Amber, the typical blonde bimbo, Peter, the Steve Irwin type, Bruce the lovable and camp gay dude, Mitch the ex-military meat head, Violet the normal one (or so we’re lead to believe) and last but not least, Elsa the dog psychic. So far so good… these guys and a cutaway to the producer being questioned by the authorities sometime in the future about why the show went horribly wrong give the impression that we’re in for some fun Paul Verhoeven style satire.
But this is where things go wrong. Instead of sticking on this path, the film loses direction and becomes a dull, lifeless typical horror film… but without the horror. We follow the contestants around the desert, as tensions mount (or rather fail to) and their true natures are revealed. This wouldn’t be too bad if 2Survive concentrated on its funnier aspects and the ridiculousness of the characters, but instead it becomes too serious for its own good. And what’s worse – nothing eventful ever really happens. The moments that are meant to be scary or exciting just appear and then fizzle out quickly. And by the time the twist at the end comes, it’s a case of too little, too late and we’re left with the daunting realisation that the best thing about this film is the striking shots of the desert.
I should say at this point that none of this is the fault of the actors, they all play their parts well and there are some brief moments of emotional depth and good humour, but do yourself a favour and stay away from this one – or you’ll end up wondering how you’ll survive until the end.
2 / 5
2SURVIVE is directed by Tom Seidman and stars Erik Estrada, Ingrid Haubert and Stephanie Greco. It will be available online and on Demand on May 5th.