Fall Review: Shows potential but eventually falls apart
While Fall might eventually fall into typical tropes of survival movies and puts viewers into a pitfall of annoying characters, it can present a cool premise and an immersive environment.
The film follows Becky (Grace Caroline Currey), a young woman suffering from the tragic death of her husband Dan (Mason Gooding) during a climbing accident. To help Becky move on from her grief, her best friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner) gets her to accompany her on an upcoming climb up a 2000 ft TV tower. Becky reluctantly accepts and while the first parts of the climb go well, the tower’s rusty condition eventually causes the ladders to collapse leaving Becky and Hunter stranded at the top of the tower. With very little resources to keep them alive, Becky and Hunter must try to find a way to get help before their time runs out.
The opening parts of Fall are surprisingly strong thanks to Scott Mann’s direction and some solid performing from Currey. Currey definitely makes Becky’s grief cut deep early on and gets you invested into her story of struggling to move forward. It’s a good way to lead into Hunter convincing her to climb the tower with her and that climb is made to be incredibly tense. The way that Mann captures the action and height of this tower as they go up will definitely instill vertigo. The tension is constantly ratcheted up through some of the ways the tower is shown to be wearing away, and the wildly dangerous exploits that Becky and Hunter do leave you gripping your seat. Although the visual effects can look distractingly cheap, there’s definitely a good effort to make Fall’s central location and premise deliver some good thrills and scares that generally succeeds.
Unfortunately, the film struggles to stay good as it falls back on typical survival movie story trappings and has really annoying characters. While Becky presents some likeable traits and an interesting personal story at first, her and Hunter become simply too annoying to bear. Hunter is especially tough to love because of how much of a social media personality she is and her views of helping Becky are little too extreme to be believable or remotely likeable. Their lines also feel ripped right from an annoying text conversation filled with forced modern lingo and their dynamic can get very tiresome. It’s even worse that the film is just simply too long, and way too drawn out, which makes watching these two argue and contemplate survival a total drag.
Plus, the film heavily relies way too much on old tropes in survival films and ridiculously unnecessary twists within the story to keep things interesting. The whole idea of all their hopes of surviving coming to abrupt halts are super predictable and become so forced that they’re almost unintentionally hilarious. Seriously, there was a point where they try to use a drone to get help and it ends in such an abrupt fashion that you can’t help but laugh. Also, there are some twists thrown in that complicate Becky and Hunter’s relationship and make Becky’s personal situation worse for no reason and it doesn’t make you more invested in what’s happening. Honestly, it’s so ridiculous and forced that you’re left feeling confused and the last act is filled with moments that don’t make much sense especially when it comes to Becky surviving certain instances. Truth be told, the conditions Becky and Hunter should face should’ve been a lot worse with them being on a metal pole open to the environment and it just shows how the film throws logic completely out the window.
Fall certainly shows some potential thanks to parts of Currey’s early performance and some of Mann’s direction in creating an intriguingly suspenseful environment, but it quickly falls apart to be a sluggish and over-bearing watch.