REVIEW: Rating for ‘Fall’ pushed up by survival thrills

False advertising. I’d say there’s more climbing in this movie than falling.

The threat of falling is constantly at play in this feature, though, so I guess it counts. The two main characters who’re at risk are Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner). Both women are experienced free-climbers who have thoroughly enjoyed the thrill.

However, after a personal tragedy during a climb where she lost her husband, Becky has given the practice up. That is until Hunter convinces her to climb an old antenna tower to help her overcome her trauma. The two do climb the structure, but in doing so, some of the ladders break off, leaving them without a path back down.

Forget “nope.” The premise of this movie will have someone saying “Hell no.” The fact is, with most survival movies, a viewer has to usually accept the fact that the protagonists don’t exactly make the best choices, and just embrace the fight for survival that comes after.

“Fall” is at its best when the characters are engaged in that fight. Their work to stay alive on the tower, whether it’s recovering a bag of supplies that fell to a lower level or firing a flare at just the right time to alert people nearby, makes for good entertainment.

It’s everything around the push to keep on living that causes the movie to suffer. The movie inserts some unnecessary drama between the two main characters, which ends up adding nothing to the film other than more minutes.

Courtesy Lionsgate.

The film already has enough going on with Becky’s trauma and, y’know, the suspense of two people on a tiny platform on a sky-high tower with no way to get down. It certainly could have been trimmed, especially since survival movies like these work best when they’re about 90 minutes.

Both 2016’s “The Shallows” and 2019’s “Crawl,” for example, came in just at about an hour, with each working quite well. “Fall,” meanwhile, gets near an hour and 50 minutes, becoming excessive.

Despite running too long, though, there’s enough thrills to make “Fall” an enjoyable experience, and its setting helps make it work. The many shots that show just high up the characters are can make a viewer nervous and have a feeling like they might fall, too.

Grace Currey deserves credit for her work as the protagonist Becky. She sells the character’s trauma and expresses just how scared Becky is during the whole experience. There’s an existential dread she’s dealing with and Currey captures that.

Curry’s work as the lead, the camera work capturing the long drop down and some tense sequences made “Fall” an alright flick. While it goes on too long and has some unnecessary melodrama, it’s still good enough to catch during a matinee. 3 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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