In Fall, two young women who deserve to die climb up a 2,000-foot rusted radio tower and expect that everything, in a movie titled Fall, will go as planned. They soon find themselves stranded at the top after 200 feet of ladder breaks away, and what ensues is a harrowing, butt-sweat-inducing thriller that unfortunately plunges to its death in the end.
Starring Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner as Becky and Hunter, Fall is a pretty legitimate single-set thriller for people who like single-set thrillers, in line with films such as Open Water and Frozen–no, not the Disney one but the one about the stupid people who get trapped on a ski lift. Both Currey and Gardner give strong performances given the material, with director Scott Mann wasting no time in pulling the audience over the ledge.
Fall is actually most harrowing in the first act, in which the pair ascend the tower. Mann does a great job at establishing height and scale, and as the earth moves further away, so too does any sense of safety.
Of course, with over an hour to go, Mann has to fill the time with the women attempting to escape their purgatory. Most of their efforts make sense, even if they largely involve trying to get the attention of others. There’s a little bit of unnecessary drama and a few cheesy moments, but for the most part Fall is a lean and straightforward thriller.
A thriller… without much of the ending.
The biggest mistake Mann and co-writer Jonathan Frank make is putting the two women in an impossible situation; they are both expert rock climbers, but neither seem to have the skill to make it down themselves. This is problematic, because when Mann and Frank should have been letting their characters risk everything in the moment to somehow climb down without outside help–and in turn, ratcheting up the suspense to an entirely new level–they instead throw out an eye-rolling curveball that a) has been done before and b) rarely works (and doesn’t work here). The ending is abrupt and unsatisfactory.
Fall is an effective thriller until it isn’t, a movie with a lot of promise that falls short when it matters most. Less trickery and more climbing mastery next time, please.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.