"Fall" stars Grace Caroline Currey, Virginia Gardner, Mason Gooding, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Released on August 12, 2022, the film has two young women stranded on top of a radio tower.
The film is directed by Scott Mann, who also directed "The Tournament", "Heist", and "Final Score". If there's one of many things I would absolutely never do, it's rock climbing. Sure, it's worth it to see the fantastic yet dizzying view, but if you're not careful, it'll be the last thing you see before you fall to your death. Even worse, you might get stuck on top of something with no way down, like an old radio tower. If superheroes and a group of assassins aren't enough to get your blood pumping towards the end of summer, then maybe you prefer something far more terrifying, like this film. This is another movie that came out of nowhere, with the only way of noticing it is through its poster. That's how I describe my experience with it firsthand. I saw the picture of two women getting stuck on top of the world's tallest radio tower, and it's enough for me to check it out. I hadn't heard of the film's director until I found that he directed "Final Score" with Dave Bautista, which I coincidentally watched on Netflix a while ago. Long story short, I thought that film was enjoyable as another "Die Hard" knock-off, so there's no doubt I might get the same result from "Fall". With that said, let's face our fears and see if this is another thrilling experience worth seeing on the big screen.
The story follows Becky (Currey), a young woman with a strong affection for rock climbing due to her husband Dan (Gooding). However, when a tragic incident results in Dan's death, Becky quickly falls into depression. One day, her friend Hunter (Gardner) convinces Becky to perform one last climb with her to face her fears and say one final goodbye to Dan. However, the mountain they're climbing isn't a mountain at all. Instead, they're mounting an abandoned radio tower that's more than 2,000 feet tall. Unfortunately, their brief climb turns into a heart-pounding nightmare when the tower's ladder breaks, leaving them stranded. With time running short, Becky and Hunter must use their heads and bravery to get themselves down.
It's easy to admit that "Fall" is another film that relies on a phobia of heights and isolation to frighten its audience. Whether you're on top of a building, a mountain, or the world's tallest (and unsafe) tower, there's no doubt that you'll wind up feeling woozy or traumatized when all is said and done. It's one of the things that are way more terrifying than ghosts and monsters because these incidents could happen to anyone else in real life. It's enough for people like me to experience this emotional, dizzying roller coaster on the big screen. Unless you have a phobia of heights or a traumatic experience with rock climbing, you might be satisfied with what the marketing suggests. As for everything else aside from the life-and-death situation, it has its moments, but it doesn't leave as much of an impression as the characters' death-defying stunt.
The story's purpose is to represent Becky's depressed state and inability to move forward following her husband's death. She is then thrust into a dangerous situation with her friend Hunter where she must learn to face her fears and live life to the fullest. Life is too short to hide yourself away when something goes wrong, as the movie portrays. It's a try-and-true message that never fails to inspire people not to be afraid to live, and I appreciate the film for portraying this theme. It's a shame that its storytelling struggled to match the same emotional heights as the tower itself. It's not to say that it's bad since it has some dramatic scenes that almost worked for me. It's the fact that the narrative couldn't follow through with those moments regarding the characters.
It also doesn't help that the screenplay by Scott Mann and Jonathan Frank had some dialogue that might've belonged in a Hallmark movie. It doesn't mean it fully resembles something from my mom's favorite channel. However, I can see that it may not pack as much interest in its buildup compared to the rest of it. The moments without the corny dialogue are watchable regarding the characters, plot twist, and message, but the execution for the rest fell short of the film's potential to be something more.
Fortunately, its narrative shortcomings were behind me once Bucky and Hunter started climbing up the poorly-conditioned tower. When they reach the tippy top of the tower, that's where the terror begins, and it never lets up until its conclusion. Scott Mann delivered some decent entertainment values in "Final Score" regarding the action sequences. In "Fall", Mann is tasked to provide some enjoyment and scares in its single, heart-pounding sequence without relying too much on spectacle. Based on what I've seen, I thought he did pretty well in portraying the authentic experience of being isolated on top of a poorly-conditioned tower through his direction. I would also give props to the cinematography for capturing the scope of its breathtaking yet vertigo-inducing view. There were a few moments that made my heart pump faster than a speeding car, which shows how effective the camerawork is.
The film's small cast isn't surprising since the budget was around $3 million. Regardless, the actors delivered enough effort in their performances to stand out. Grace Caroline Currey, best known for playing Mary Bromfield in "Shazam!", was decent in her role as Becky, while Virginia Gardner offered some tolerable moments regarding her role as Hunter. Mason Gooding and Jeffrey Dean Morgan don't have as much screen time as the main leads, which is a shame since they're both solid actors. I even enjoyed Gooding in the recent "Scream" installment. Despite that, Gooding and Morgan did their best to help the leads carry the movie as Dan and James, Becky's father, and their best was good enough.
Overall, "Fall" may not reach the same heights as the radio tower regarding its story, but it does prevail in providing a dizzying and heart-pounding experience for survival genre fans. It's a simple and constantly thrilling movie that effectively captures the genuine fear of heights and the importance of life. Its decent cast and direction are enough to make it watchable, even though its narrative wasn't as memorable as its life-or-death scenario regarding its screenplay and dialogue. It won't win any awards for its plot, but it's fine enough to be a late-summer treat for its target audience.
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