REVIEW – “Fall”

Films with one single-setting for a majority of their running times seem like they should be the easiest movies in the world to make, but classics like 12 Angry Men and Rear Window or even a tense, modest thriller like Buried will remind you how much it hinges on both compelling characters and sharp writing. Giving credit where credit is due, Fall is original in where it’s single-location takes place – on top of a 2,000 foot television tower in the middle of the middle of a hot dessert town. What could compel anyone to go up there and how is the audience asked to justify such an obviously dumb decision, you ask? The film begins with Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) who is deeply reliant on alcohol and suppressing her emotions after the death of her husband (Mason Gooding) plummeted to his death in a rock climbing incident. Becky’s friend Hunter (Virgina Gardner) tries to pull Becky out of her rut by making her face her fears in climbing the aforementioned television tower; but after the ladders on the tower fall apart, the spectacle and terror ensues!

Right off the bat, one of the main issues I have with Fall is that it looks overwhelmingly cheap and fake. There are so many moments in the film where it should be nail-bitingly suspenseful, as characters can often make a really plausible, simple mistake and it will have them dangling for their lives or losing their balance. While the film was apparently shot practically on a mountain and digitally rendered to be a television tower later (a noble, practical effort!) – it still doesn’t make the shots feel well-rendered at any capacity. But even if the visuals were out of this world outstanding, you’d still be left with the very simple flaw of not being able to understand the stupidity of the decision these girls are making. So many horror films now are about trauma and what it does to us, and I do often think the genre is a great tool to explore those themes – but Fall’s sloppy character work, really silly premise, and bad writing do it no favors.

I almost feel bad for trashing the film, because these are the type of low-budget horror films that I genuinely want to see more of and I can tell there was actually some effort behind the camera. Grace Caroline Currey and Virigina Gardner are both giving really solid and compelling performances despite the characters not being particularly well-written, and director Scott Mann certainly tries his best, and even delivers some good moments of suspense. But at a nearly 110 minute running-time, the film simply feels like it overstays its welcome and even feels like it takes far too-long to get to the top of the television tower. Overall, it just feels like a modest, somewhat ambitious, but ultimately and unfortunately tired thriller that doesn’t do a whole lot to impress.


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