August 12th, 2022
STARRING: GRACE CAROLINE CURREY, VIRGINIA GARDNER, JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN, MASON GOODING
DIRECTED BY: SCOTT MANN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The term B-Movie often comes along with a negative connotation but in recent years it’s been the kind of movie we crave. Films such as 47 Meters Down, Crawl, or The Shallows come to mind, and coincidentally they are also movies of characters trapped in dire situations. The concept of Fall is that two women are stuck 2,000-feet up in the air on a radio tower, stranded with little food or water, unable to make contact with anyone, and how are they going to get out of the situation. It may seem like low-brow entertainment, but Fall is relentlessly thrilling, a terrifying concept, cool use of special effects, and a sweat inducing ride to new heights. It’s hard not to fall for Fall.
The set-up involves Becky (Grace Caroline Currey), her husband Dan (Mason Gooding), and best friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner) free climbing up the side of a mountain, using only their harnesses and clips to scale the wall. This leads to a tragedy of Dan falling, sending Becky into a spiral of depression, where not even her father (briefly played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) can break her out of it. When Hunter shows up at her front door she hopes she can be the one to entice her to live again. Her big offer is to drive out to the Los Angeles desert and climb to the top of a radio tower, with the hopes of injecting the thrill again, to live like there is no tomorrow, and for Dan’s memory. As the trailer, the poster, and most movies where people take a daring risk, things do not go easy, putting Becky and Hunter in a situation of life and death.
As far as a concept movie like Fall working, it all rests on the skills of director Scott Mann, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jonathan Frank. The setup stuff is groundwork, but the meat and potatoes lie in the special effects, which is a collection of green screens and deep fake technology. The bottom line is that it looks amazing, often scary, and another movie that deserves to be seen in the theater experience. If anything resonates, it’s that Scott Mann has great skills as a director and a willingness to make something fresh for audiences to experience. The negative side is that for various reasons of getting the film rated PG-13 instead of R there is some bad dubbing, and Fall succumbs to the big mistake of being too long. But even with those issues, there’s still a whole lot of tension, and building fear in Fall.
The other part of Fall being successful is the dual performances from Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner. It’s just the two of them, stuck on a platform, zero phone service, and still using their physicality as much as their emotional performance. It’s here where the screenplay mixes the ingenuity that the two characters must use and their physical strength. They become regular MacGyver’s by using selfie sticks and drones as their only way to reach civilization. We see incredible hand grip strength, climbing the tall structure, and still allowing their characters to go through what their experiences have done to their own friendship. Both deliver great performances, but the highlight is Grace Caroline Currey because had she gone too far or not enough the entire movie collapses underneath the spectacle.
What it boils down to is that Fall is much better than it should be and it still is much too long for its own good. Even with that minor issue, the entire production is enthralling, and director Scott Mann has made the perfect late summer escape. There genuinely should be more movies made like this. B-Movie, genre action, whatever you call it, Fall is a thrilling climb to the top and a sweat inducing ride when you get there. Don’t look down, just look up…at the screen.
FALL IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS FRIDAY AUGUST 12TH, 2022
Written by: Leo Brady