Fall is equal parts thrilling and engaging so long as the viewer accepts the type of movie they are watching. Scott Mann’s latest film is a minimalist one with enough exciting moments to hold the audience but offers few new ideas or reiterations of things that have come before. It’s an obvious film that demands the viewer suspend disbelief as to take the premise in and enjoy what Mann has arranged for them.
Mann’s fourth feature primarily deals with the relationship between two friends, the grieving Becky, played by Grace Caroline Currey, and adrenaline junky Hunter, who is played by Virginia Gardner. When Becky’s husband dies in a rock-climbing accident with both women as witnesses, she withdraws herself from society and begins drinking heavily.
Hunter, who runs her own extreme sports social media channel, tries to reinvigorate Becky by forcing her to face her fears. She constructs an idea to do so, and suggests Becky accompany her to climb a 2,000-foot television tower for the good of her channel. Becky reluctantly agrees and the two girls deal with the elements and struggle with mental fortitude as they find themselves stranded atop the large structure.
In this sense, the movie does everything you’d expect to upset you, and make the all too common fear of heights feel real to the viewer. There are sequences which are breathtaking and nauseous all at once. Like any good survival film, the plot rewards the cast member who is most resourceful, and various schemes are put in place by the two girls as they try to save themselves.
The tension is there; even those not afraid of heights will likely writhe in their seats while watching. Mann has composed a thoroughly frightening movie with “Fall”. There are elements within the film that border more on the horror side of symbolism than a traditional survival feature. Those inclusions add to the terrible idea that is climbing this massive structure. As the viewer, we didn’t need to be told this was a bad choice, but we stick around to watch the conundrum work itself out, with all unfortunate outcomes considered.
Indeed, from one moment to the next, we can actually see something awful taking place, only to see the girls have another chance. The booming score always kicks up a reminder of foreboding. The script isn’t without some novel moves; it actually succeeds quite well in a story essentially about no more than two characters. The set is simple, and the budget is only $3 million. For those parameters, it is a sufficiently stimulating film. It’s like riding a rollercoaster, and we know we are paying to be scared. This film shows us one great anxiety-inducing moment after another, and eventually these build up to show us the fate of our characters.
For those who want their movies to provoke thought, Fall might not be a great pick. For what it’s worth, it does entertain, but likely won’t have a lasting impact on the thriller or survival genres in the long term. There is a twist towards the end that proves dark enough to be considered at least a somewhat earned moment in the chaos of the unfolding events of the film.
This movie will likely be enjoyed by anyone that likes to be physically anxious for 80 minutes straight. However, the dialogue lacks substance and the showy edits offer little in the progression of the story, even if they do look intense. The cast does well with what was given them, but this film, a stripped down survival story, offers just enough excitement to keep the viewer engaged until the end. What it offers post viewing is unfortunately, also minimal.