Universal Pictures | June 10, 2022 | 146 Mins. | Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure
FALL (2022) l VVS Films | August 12, 2022 | 107 Mins.
For best friends Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner), life is all about conquering fears and pushing limits. But after they climb 2,000 feet to the top of a remote, abandoned radio tower, they find themselves stranded with no way down. Now Becky and Hunter’s expert climbing skills will be put to the ultimate test as they desperately fight to survive the elements, a lack of supplies, and vertigo-inducing heights
REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
Fall is one of the most nerve wracking films I have ever experienced, delivering a heart pounding ride from start to finish led by two fierce performances from Grace Fulton and Virginia Gardner.
It is more than likely that Fall is not even on your radar, because it has not been front and centre at the cinemas this summer. Which is a crying shame because this is destined to be one of the greatest films of the year that not enough audiences will see. The premise is simple, it follows two young women climbing an abandoned 2,000 foot tower, who become stranded at the top. What ensues is a harrowing tale of survival as they have no cell reception, limited supplies and no way down.
The screenplay slowly builds the anticipation to the peril you know the two main characters will be in, as they slowly ascend the tower. It shows lots of obstacles that the character will face at the top, as well as taking lots of moments to display the rusted nature of the ladder, the loose screws, the wind blowing, and the desolate landscape surrounding the tower. Then, disaster strikes and it is one perilous moment after another. There are a few small lulls in the story, where the screenplay calls for a quiet analysis of the characters and their situation that ever so slightly loses complete grip on the audience’s attention, but they are quickly followed by a truly terrifying moment that sucks you right back into the story.
Not since Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity have I felt such a rush of adrenaline and sickening fear while watching a film. It had my heart pounding for one hundred minutes and made me feel like I was going to be sick from the stress of watching the events unfold on screen. While the story has a simple premise, the direction of the film is incredible as the filmmaking team all know that you are thinking “what goes up must come down” and toy with this notion from the first scene.
From the opening scene, director Scott Mann catches the audience’s breath and does not give you a moment to recover until the credits begin rolling. While most audiences will assume that the film mainly used blue screen technology to simulate the height of the platform, Mann and his crew actually built a 60 foot platform on top of a mountain.This simulates the immense height the character are meant to be facing while providing safe conditions for filming and heights that camera cranes can reach, that gives some stunning shots with an unnerving sense of vertigo. So whether it be Mann’s decision to do close up shots to show the true terror on the actresses faces, or a shot looking down to the ground that despite the ground being edited to recreate the setting of the film, the depth perception that is causing you to shake in terror is absolutely authentic. There are some truly breathtaking shots of the skyline, or clever angles used to create an unnerving image on screen. And throw in Tim Despic’s bombastic and startling musical score which truly energizes the more terrifying moments of the story, and you have a film that messes with all of your senses at once.
Though, the film is carried by the two excellent performances of Grace Fulton and Virginia Gardner. Put aside the fact that these two actresses did the majority of their own stunts, putting their bodies through the ringer to create a truly realistic tale of terror. The character work that they do is emotionally draining, largely through facial expressions and their conversations with each other, never for a second failing to create the impression that they are not more than a second away from plummeting to their death. While the physical fear of death is never absent from their performance, the two of them do a wonderful job of creating an emotional underpinning to their character’s arc as they both mourn the loss of Becky’s husband and the shared trauma they both have from watching him fall to his death a year ago. Especially Fulton who is facing her character’s fear of danger head on as she fights for her survival against all odds. While these two actresses may not be big names yet, the talent they show in this film is just proof they are waiting for that breakout role to become the two next big stars.
The story is mainly just Becky and Hunter, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Mason Gooding have small supporting roles with a few minutes of screen time each. Both Morgan and Gooding give strong performances and make their impact on the film, helping to fuel Becky and Hunter’s internal fight for survival, despite them never eclipsing the star power of Fulton and Gardner.
So if it hasn’t been clear so far in my review, but Fall is a film that you want to see in theatres on the biggest screen possible! It is bound the have you shaking in terror in your seat as you see one of the most thrilling fights for survival in recent memory play out on screen, delivering one of the most terrifying films you will experience this year. Smartly written and expertly directed by Scott Mann to create a realistic and absolutely horrifying vision on screen, Fall is bound to have you feeling sick to your stomach due to the amount of fear and stress this film injects the audience with as it creates the ultimate thrill ride!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5