Cinema adores cliffhangers, both literal and otherwise and so whenever there’s a chance to put characters in really sticky situations, you can bet that filmmakers will go out of their way to put plucky people in the most nightmarish scenarios they can think up. With this in mind, eagerly joining the White Girls Fuck Up Their Holiday genre (also see: The Shallows, The Descent and 47 Meters Down) is Fall, a survival thriller that puts the high in high stakes that sees two thrill seeking women realise that maybe doing death-defying shit “for the Gram” may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.
Can this latest endeavor to stick a minimal cast in a single, hostile location, manage to keep its plot as taunt as a climbing rope, or does it fall 2,000 feet at the first hurdle.
Only one way to find out; after all, there’s nowhere to go but down.


After losing her husband, Dan, after he reenacts the opening moments of Cliffhanger during a climbing holiday, a grieving Becky tries to find solice by becoming an alcoholic shut-in for almost a year. When her worried father fails to get through to her, she gets a visit from her thrill-seeking best friend, Hunter, who was present when Dan route the express route off the side of that mountain. In an effort to pull Becky out of her funk, Hunter, clearly unable to read the room, suggests that they should honor Dan’s memory by travelling to the desert and climbing the 2,000 foot tall, decommissioned B-67 TV in order to scatter his ashes and start the healing process.
Obviously, Becky agrees (we wouldn’t even have this genre, let alone this movie if people didn’t make bafflingly stupid decisions) and the two bond as they scale the absurdly tall tower as Hunter takes multiple videos for her Intagram page, but rust and plot contrivance conspire to stand them at the top of the structure after the screws holding the rickety ladder in place ping out all over the place leaving Becky and Hunter stranded on a narrow platform higher than the Eiffel Tower.
Now it’s a battle of survival as the two, trapped women have put their heads together and employ some advanced puzzle solving if they are going to avoid the ravages of thirst, hunger, or the iminent pulping of their shapely forms if they were to fall. They are too high to get any cell reception, their water is in a backpack around thirty feet below them and the buzzards circling the area are liking the look of the wound on Becky’s leg right now…
If that wasn’t worrying enough, Becky and Hunter also have some personal shit to air out involving some awkward indiscretion from their past (no time like the present, eh?) thatvcould seriously effect their ability to get out of this mess.


In addition to the movies I mentioned earlier, Fall also resembles other desperate survival movies like The Reef and Open Water and not just because they all feature variations of panicking fun-seekers putting themselves in lethal situations for the sake of a quick buzz. It’s a necessary evil in order to get events in motion, but I’ve sometimes found it a chore to give a shit about the morons who keep thinking that going cage diving with a disreputable sailor or heading out into the middle of nowhere without telling anyone where the hell they’re going. Unfortunately, Fall isn’t exactly an exception to the rule and you’ll probably find it weirdly tough to emphasize with a couple of girls who scream “Seize the day” while dangling 500 meters of a rusty platform for a fucking Instagram post – but it’s the movie’s job to put them in a jam so traumatizing, your smug superiority melts away in order for you (literally) hang onto their every moment.
Director Scott Mann certainly has an edge in this respect because anyone whose butthole tightens like a vice at the slightest hint of acrophobia will find that Fall will cause them to peep out nerve-farts so high pitched, only dogs will hear them and he certainly gets great mileage of his vertigo inducing location and set pieces that’ll cause your stomach to barrel roll, but what about everything else?
Plainly put, whenever Fall pauses to take a breath, you soon start to realise almost everything about it – save the height – has been swiped from almost every other movie is name checked thus far and its derivative nature often pulled me out of the film at numerous points. The opening scene where Scream’s Mason Gooding takes a long drop is awfully reminiscent of Cliffhanger or Vertical Limit (take your pick), while the thread of an emotionally wounded character recklessly throwing themselves into an adrenaline sport in order to heal is usually part and parcel of this kind of movie. However, the most obvious steal would have to be from a spoilerish twist around two thirds of the way through that, while well executed, hues extremely closely to similar twists in both Neil Marshall’s superlative The Descent and 47 Meters Down.


However, if you can stomach both the nausea inducing footage and its derivative nature, there’s still lots here that proves to be instinctively gripping starting with our two leads. Grace Caroline Currey, most recently spotted having no problem with heights as she zooms around within the Shazam! movies, is vunerable enough for us not to instantly dismiss her for thinking that climbing a tower the taller than Godzilla is an adequate way to face your fears, while Halloween’s Virgina Gardener almost makes us not hate Hunter for not only getting them both in this mess, but being an utter slave to social media with it, although it’s tough to declare someone a “girlboss” when a hungry vulture comes packing at their face.
Similarly, the moments where our two characters try to carry out their numerous plans to desperately get help are fittingly nerve wracking and various set pieces that involve dangling lower, climbing even higher, or dicking around with drones and shoes in order to try and raise the alarm. While the illusion is often marred by some annoyingly evident green-screening (especially around their ponytails, once you notice it), it doesn’t prevent the various, dangly moments causing your heart to insist in leaping into your throat every couple of minutes.


At times genuinely exciting, others overwhelmingly overfamilar, Fall obviously reaps better results the bigger the screen you watch it on, but if the thought of being stranded at a dizzying height gives you the wobbles, its definately worth taking the plunge.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s