Fall Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
When two adventure-seeking friends end up stranded atop a 2,000-foot radio tower, survival becomes the ultimate goal. Height has never been so fear-inducing!
Director: Scott Mann
Cast: Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, Jasper Cole & Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Run Time: 107 min.
US Release: 12 August 2022
UK Release: 02 September 2022
German Release: 15 December 2022 (direct-to-video)
A short trip to Spain enabled me to finally see this flick through VOD, as it is being released direct-to-video here in Germany in mid-December. I am a big fan of survival thrillers/dramas and was intrigued by the premise of someone being stuck on top of a high structure, with no way down, or form to contact the outside world. What I should have expected, is a tedious plot that drags on for nearly two hours. Visually impressive, story-wise, horrible! So cling to your climbing gear, as you read my dizzying review for Fall!
At the anniversary of the life-altering incident that shattered her life, emotionally fragile rock climber Becky reluctantly decides to confront her fears. As her thrill-seeking friend Hunter re-enters Becky's alcohol-drenched life, the two experienced climbers embark on a high-risk, vertigo-inducing climbing adventure to the top of the abandoned 2,000-foot B67 TV tower.
Written by Scott Mann himself, together with Jonathan Frank, the idea came to him while shooting his flick Final Score, starring Dave Bautista. While shooting a scene at height, Mann got into an interesting conversation about height and the human fear of falling, considering how it could be turned into a great device for a plot. While that aspect is well realised, the human element is dreadfully clichéd!
The concept for Fall was supposed to be realised as a short film, which pretty much shows. Meant to be a dramatic survival thriller, something between 127 Hours and The Shallows, it fails at creating an endearing backstory for the characters, not earning the runtime of 107 minutes. In fact, it would have done the final product well to cut out about 20 minutes, as the outcome of the two friends stranded on a radio tower becomes dull after the third attempt to signal for help. The story component goes downhill pretty fast, after some far-fetched acrobatics, as well as two reveals that audiences can foresee easily.
The narrative falls quickly apart, mainly due to the reason that there is no emotional hook concerning the characters. The backstories are paper-thin, feeling oddly rushed. The friendship between the two main personas is unrealistically theatrical as if taken from a high-school movie. It is incredibly shallow!
The dialogues aren’t any better. Full of angst, it once again suits a high school melodrama better, with all the overdramatic line deliveries. Especially the selfish pep-talks by Hunter, who does not listen to how her friend feels, manipulating her into joining the dangerous adventure, for her own personal reasons.
Grace Caroline Currey gives a disappointing depiction of her character Becky. Meant to be the emotional anchor, Currey is rather bland and uninteresting. Becky’s past disturbing experience is rushed, leaving us with an alcoholic, borderline suicidal persona, leading a reclusive life. Mean to those who try to help her, she finally agrees to join her friend in a stupidly thrill-seeking stunt, to conquer her fear of climbing.
Virginia Gardner, who I loved in the 2018 Halloween, gives an equally lukewarm performance as Becky’s best friend Hunter. Egoistic, with an agenda of her own, she manages to seduce her friend to join her in climbing an abandoned radio tower, in the middle of nowhere, twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. Hunter is as unlikeable, as she is dumb!
Jeffrey Dean Morgan obtained the extremely small role of Becky’s father. With barely any screen time, he comes off as a slight jerk, suggesting that the traumatic event his daughter experienced might be for the best. He looks like a concerned father, yet to tell her to suck it up and move on in life is the wrong move!
The cinematography is this movie's ray of shining grace! Using IMAX cameras, together with the element of height, the camera work makes good use of vertigo-inducing shots. When people look over the edge, the camera pans down with them, over their shoulders. When they do stupidly thoughtless stunts, high-angle close ups, are used to show a potentially deadly fall. Close-ups of rattling wires and bolts increase the tension. The panoramic shots break the suspense at times, serving us with the beautiful high scenery of California’s Mojave desert.
There are undoubtedly green-screen plus computer effects at work here, though the top structure of the radio tower was built atop the Shadow Mountains in California, to make it look as if the actors were really thousands of feet up. The visual effects added, are blended in well with the real footage atop the mountain.
Verdict: Scott Mann’s newest survival thriller manages to emulate the feeling of vertigo quite effectively, leaving viewers with sweaty palms. Sadly, the script is paper thin, with little substance for a nearly two-hour runtime, as it was originally intended to be a short film. The dialogues are laughably badly scripted, unrealistic and over-dramatised, while the performances of Currey and Gardner are mediocre. This is far less interesting than other survival flicks like Gravity or The Shallows. Yes, the visuals, just like the cinematography, are undeniably amazing! Specifically when creating the dizzying visuals when looking down from 600 metres, as well as the jaw-dropping panoramic views from that height. That, however, is all it has to offer, as the human component is unimaginatively dull. Fall is nothing more than sheer mediocracy, obtaining a 5.5 out of 10.
What was your experience watching Fall? Did you like it, or do you agree with my thoughts? Leave a comment to let me know & if you like the content posted on my site, consider subscribing.