Fall: The summer’s seat-gripping survivor thriller

Official movie poster for Fall  (Photo courtesy of Culture Crypt).

Official movie poster for Fall (Photo courtesy of Culture Crypt).

Joseph Meagher, Staff Writer

Directed and co-written by British film director Scott Mann, Fall is a survivor-thriller film that premiered in theaters on Friday, August 12, 2022. With a run-time of 1:47, Fall was a comfortable length, especially compared to the behemoths of run times that have accompanied Hollywood blockbusters in recent years. The tight budget of $3 million also makes what this movie accomplished monumental for a small Indie film.

The film follows thrill-seeking friends Becky Connor and Shiloh Hunter, who are both trying to recover from the recent death of Becky’s husband, Dan (Mason Gooding). Being avid climbers, Hunter suggests that they conquer their fears of death by living on the edge and climbing the 2,000-foot tall decommissioned B67 tower located in the Mojave Desert, California. After climbing the tower, the pair quickly discovers a problem with getting back down and gets stranded in the air with little to no resources.

Before further review, a warning is warranted to anyone thinking about watching this film. Admittedly, Fall was a lot to handle at points. The central exposition of the narrative falls on the death of a loved one, and the whole film deals heavily with depressive tones and showcases thoughts of self-harm.

It is a survivor story, so there are certainly times when excessive gore is displayed. If you or someone you know gets uneasy at the sight of blood, you may want to avoid this film. Moreover, the movie deals with heights and has a thriller style, where jumpscares are present. So, if either of those subjects is anxiety-inducing, be aware of what this movie might entail.

With that being said, Fall was a highly enjoyable movie and did exactly what it was made to do: entertain!

The suspense throughout the film continuously builds and falls at just the right times, and the clever plot twist draws the audience in for a second watch in order to go back and look for smaller details. Along with suspense, clever foreshadowing piqued viewers’ interest without spoiling the most important parts of the movie.

The movie’s cinematography is by far its strongest point. Serious recognition has to be paid to Cinematographer Miguel López Ximénez de Olaso, or MacGregor as he is professionally known. With a plot centered around an enclosed setting and only two characters to move the story along, the stunning cinematography was a necessary addition to make the movie interesting and enticing.

One of many amazing shots by Cinemaphotographer MacGregor (Photo courtesy of Mashable).

With that said, it should be noted that the movie had one glaring flaw: VFX. The film’s cold open, which is meant to be gut-wrenching, is significantly downplayed by the use of rushed and unfinished-looking effects.

The effects improve for most of the rest of the movie, but in the areas where they are off, a viewer could easily feel thrown out of the movie, and it always took me a moment to fully get back into believing the story that was being told. Whether this was because of the aforementioned tight budget or rushed post-production, it is a small complaint to be had against a largely impressive film, especially since most effects were done practically or through other methods as opposed to relying on VFX.

The cast was another highlight of the film. Actresses Grace Caroline Currey (Becky) and Virginia Gardner (Hunter) both gave excellent performances and nailed the tonal shifts that are present throughout the movie.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan (James Connor) also deserves a mention. Although his character was only prominent in three scenes, the seasoned actor gave a performance that will certainly reach the hearts of any parent watching.

Speaking of seasoned actors, this casting steered clear of a problem plaguing Hollywood: the continuous casting of A-list actors and actresses, leaving aspiring artists in the dust.

Although these actors have impressive resumes and have certainly been involved in numerous projects, the feel of this movie was enhanced since the actors were not immediately recognizable. This makes sense for an Indie film where a strong message is being displayed.

Altogether, Fall was an enjoyable film to experience. It had emotional moments that were diluted by bad visual effects, but the gorgeous cinematography not only pushed that to the side but added so much more to the movie as well. 

The way the movie looks is a character in its own right, making the movie feel less plain given the constricted setting. The characters are believable human beings who are suffering from a loss, and their dialogue is consistent with the way young adults speak to one another.

The movie lets us care for these characters, making the highs even more hopeful, and the lows equally as discouraging. Strong themes are used throughout the movie that might drive some audiences away, but the movie accomplishes its goal in the way of being entertaining.

In  a time where fear and turmoil are rampant, the message the movie sends is relatable and worth hearing. The film has a lot more going for it than it does holding it back, so the next time you find yourself sitting at home needing something to do, try picking up the remote and watching Fall.