Director: Scott Mann
Writers: Scott Mann and Jonathan Frank
Starring: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Fall is a tense survival thriller directed by Scott Mann, who also co-wrote the film with Jonathan Frank. It’s mostly set at a dizzying height of two thousand feet, with two characters stuck on the top of a TV tower in the middle of nowhere. If you’re scared of heights, then this is definitely going to have you gripping the arms of your seat as you sit through the tense story.
Grace Caroline Currey stars as Becky, who is still grieving the loss of her husband Dan (Mason Gooding) almost a year after his death in a climbing accident. To try help her recover, Becky’s best friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner) asks Becky to join her in climbing a TV tower in the middle of the desert to spread Dan’s ashes.
This is one of those minimalist horror-adjacent films where the main characters are stuck/trapped somewhere, and the majority of the film is them trying to get out. Think something like 127 Hours or Buried. This time the two main characters are stuck on a platform close to the top of the tower, as the ladder gives way when they try to start climbing back down.
When the film is dealing with the height and the two characters doing insane stunts to survive, like climbing down to get a bag with much needed water, trying not to fall asleep so they don’t just fall to their deaths, it’s nail bitingly tense. It’s easy to imagine how horrific the situation would be. Just the simple climbing up the endless ladder is enough to start the fear bubbling, and when they’re trapped up there everything is ramped up. It’s a tense story, especially if you don’t like heights.
The film has a run time of a little over ninety minutes, but really should be a lot shorter. The opening scene, where Dan dies, just straight up shouldn’t be there. It doesn’t add anything to the film, beyond a padded run time. All of it could have been revealed better and more subtly on the journey to and then up the tower. Similarly, a revelation half-way through about Hunter, that’s revealed by a tattoo on her foot, adds absolutely nothing overall, except a longer run time. The characters aren’t real enough for you to care about the twists and turns of their personal lives. The pointless scenes really feel tedious.
As the story progresses it gets a little silly, that’s if you haven’t already stopped caring about realism by that point. The pair use a drone to try and signal for help and charge it using one of the most ridiculous methods possible. At one point they signal out to a couple who are having a trip in the desert, who in turn just steal Hunter’s car and leave. The pair didn’t tell anywhere, beyond Hunter’s online fans, where they were going, and surely that’s the first rule of doing stuff like this. Then there’s the ending, which without spoiling anything is just ridiculous. There are enough silly moments here that it would probably be a better comedy than a thriller, if it leaned into it more.
Despite all of that though, the film is still incredibly tense. For the most part it really works, with the unbearable height and sense of doom having your eyes glued to the screen. The danger has your heart beating fast. Fall is decent, but has too many dumb things that stop it from being great.
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