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‘…Fall is a rather memorable, if messy film that engages the eye and trolls the brain…’

Do real cinematic sleepers still happen? Back in the day, films could run for months if not years at cinemas due to popular word of mouth. Since then, sales on ancillary markets like VHS, DVD, itunes, streaming or tv might reflect a film that never quite fades in the public consciousness. Scott Mann’s Fall definitely qualifies as an old-school sleeper; made for $3 million, it’s made over $20 million after getting picked up by Lionsgate. The streamer Netflix, badly lacking in high-concept cinematic fare, also picked it up, and Fall is now a much discussed global hit in almost every territory, creating debate about dubious safety conditions atop radio towers and the laughable, intensely annoying clichés of modern B Movies.

Dumb-ass thrill-seekers Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner) decide to climb a disused radio tower somewhere in Nowhere California. Becky has just lost her partner in a climbing accident, and Hunter feels that the only way for her friend to recover is to take place in an another incredibly disorganised, if not bat-squeak crazy climb. Thus the two girls tell nobody at all where they’re going, don’t bother to check whether their phones will work as they climb, don’t bring spare batteries, and generally make fewer preparations that you might for attending an outdoor concert or sports day. That lazy attitude proves a problematic approach when the 2000 feet of rusty ladder fall off (and somehow vanish) mid-climb, leaving Hunter and Becky stranded on a precarious iron gantry for many long hours. It’s one thing to make it all the way to the top, but you generally don’t find out who your friends really are until you are on the way down….

On such a paltry budget, Fall looks pretty good, with only a few dud effects and a general sense of size and scale; there are plenty of vertigo-inducing shots to provide you with ground-rush, and this critic can confirm having jumped out of planes, 2000 feet straight down is quite a sight to behold. But mucho narrative contrivance is required to stretch out Fall’s action to 107 mins, and some of the physical and emotional complications boggle the brain. As V-loggers , Becky and Hunter may be ‘natural born clickbait’, but they seem to have child-like ideas about how to use rope, drones or any of the equipment they’ve brought, and yet have tonnes of goofy MTV-physics-show insight into what kind of velocity might be expected from an iphone stuffed into a Converse trainer (not recommended for climbing) stuffed into an…ew…

Ending with the rousing sight of Jeffrey Dean Morgan racing across the desert to collect a pay-check for five minutes work, and falling back on the same exhausted ‘ghostly guide’ trope that we’ve seen in the same film-makers shark-story 47 Meters Down, or Adrift, or the book of World War Z, or every survivalist story you’ve ever seen, Fall is a rather memorable, if messy film that engages the eye and trolls the brain by asking you to believe the unbelievable. Now a slice of semi-interactive tv, it’ll have you howling with derision at some of the stupidest behaviour by leading characters imaginable, and then provides genuine mirth when things go horribly wrong. Perching on our couch laughing at the misfortune fails of others on social media is something of a thing in 2023, and Fall, with a sequel already on the way, allows audiences to revel in exactly that superior position. Just look out for the big-ass vultures gathering around you, that really can’t be a good sign, can it?


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  1. I really enjoyed Fall when I saw it in theaters last summer. The scale and fear of the tower is definitely heightened when you see it on the big screen. Although I saw 47 Meters Down after Fall, I still felt the twist was warranted and shocking. Many dumb decisions and character choices, but that’s part of the fun for me. I’m looking forward to Fall 2. Though I do wonder if it will be similar to 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. In terms of, same concept, different cast. If that is the case, I have no idea what can TOP a 2000 foot high abandoned radio tower.

    • Yup, I’m not sure exactly how it works, but somehow identifying the plot holes is a big part of the film here. And that tower is impressively realised, I’d imagine this was far more intense on the big screen….

  2. I saw this in the cinema when it first came out and reviewed it on my site. I enjoyed it. I didn’t see the twist coming and I felt this was exactly the kind of harebrained scheme such social media scavengers would come up with and suffer the consequences. Setting the idiocies aside, I thought it was well done.

  3. The idea that people who want to climb mountains are not too bright seems legit to me. I do think half of them have a death wish.

    I’m completely blanking on that James Franco film where he loses his arm on a mountain climb – that was a true story and he also didn’t feel the need to tell anyone where he was going.

    And Free Solo is a great documentary about a real nut who climbs mountains without ropes.

    I’m not saying “Fall” sounds like great cinema, but I do have a guilty pleasure for the “let’s climb up the mountain and hope we don’t fall off” genre.

    • This is very much part of that genre, but films of this nature work so much better when the characters seem real rather than crazy or tame depending on what the narrative requires…and one of the climbers supposedly hasn’t trained for a year, which makes zero sense given how she performs…you need muscles to do this, and training!

      • I think these films probably work best when either documentaries or best (even loosely) on a true story. Because I find it hard to believe that anyone would do anything so insane as try to climb a cliff! (Or a rusty ladder….)

        • Just make the characters adrenaline junkies and let us fill in the motivations. The chunks of plot relating to the character development are shoehorned in. But sneering at stupid behavior is more than ever a global sport…

    • The Alpinist is another great doc along the same lines as Free Solo, not a happy ending though. But well worth your time if you like mountains and stuff.

  4. Is this another one of your infamous “let me rewrite an old review and pretend it didn’t happen” reviews? Because I distinctly remember discussing the physics of going the bathroom atop a 2000ft tower.

    But bodily functions aside, I see this as a continuation of the gradual stupification of humanity.

      • Must have been Alex then. Man, I hate it when I get things like this mixed up. Turns the world topsy turvy and makes me wonder if maybe we really are living in a matrix…

        • Don’t think it was my site. The only movie I could think of that might have fit was Frozen (2010), not the kiddie musical but the one about a trio of kids stuck on a ski lift, but you didn’t comment on my review of that.

          Now you get to go crazy wondering where you said what you thought said . . .

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