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Fall Review

Fall Review

Fall opens half way up a mountain, so you know what’s coming. Hunter (Virginia Gardner), Becky (Grace Caroline Curry), and Becky’s husband Dan (Mason Gooding), are a trio of vertiginous adventurers who are never happy unless they’re at least several hundred feet above the ground. Alas, in the pre-titles sequence, Dan meets that ground rather more quickly and fatally than he’d anticipated. Becky is devastated.

‘51 weeks later’ and she’s still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy. Eager to help her friend reclaim her life, Hunter – a popular daredevil YouTuber – invites Becky to join her on her latest mission: to climb a two thousand foot defunct radio tower in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Reluctantly, the grieving woman accepts. She’ll wish she hadn’t.

Whilst the performances of Virginia Gardner and Grace Caroline Curry are solid, the real star of Fall is the structure upon which they find themselves trapped after the ladder they’ve been scaling snaps off and leaves Becky and Hunter marooned on the platform at the top. The tower is so thin and lacking in support, from a distance it looks just like a pencil line splitting the sky in half; as the women make their perilous way upwards, they dislodge loose bolts and rusty ladder rungs, and leave you wondering how it hasn’t all blown over in a stiff breeze already. Even those who don’t consider themselves acrophobic will feel their stomachs drop on multiple occasions here.

Although in high-concept thrillers like Fall, the protagonists making silly decisions seems par for the course, besides deciding to climb the tower in the first place, Becky and Hunter are refreshingly wily and practical. They use almost every item they have on their persons to try and alert those far below to their predicament – they even wait until nighttime to use the tower’s sole emergency flare. Perhaps having lead characters with a jot of sense shouldn’t be as notable as it is, but this is a genre that sets the bar low in that regard, and it does help you root for this precariously-placed pair.

Unfortunately, providing Becky and Hunter with brains is about as far as writer-director Scott Mann and co-writer Jonathan Frank go in terms of characterisation; any time Fall attempts to expand on the emotional journeys of the two, the film fizzles. Hunter’s travails as a YouTuber just aren’t very interesting, and Becky’s attempts to get her to be more honest online only result in more clichés – the whole ‘Life Is Fleeting’ monologue, repeated for emphasis at the end of the movie, is eye-rollingly trite. And there are irritating men-writing-women issues that rear their heads throughout, as when Becky and Hunter start fighting over a man whilst they’re two thousand feet in the air, or the push-up bra that becomes a plot point.

Still, let’s be honest – you don’t come to a film like this for its deftly-written, nuanced character work. Despite the frustrations in that department, ultimately Fall’s heart-thumping high jinks make it a gripping, terrifying ride.


Signature Entertainment presents Fall on Digital Platforms 14 November and Blu-ray & DVD 28 November 2022

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