Plot: What’s it about?
I don’t have an intense fear of heights, but it’s there for me. I prefer to be grounded whenever possible. And you won’t catch me skydiving any time soon, but I get that the thrill must be nice to some. Having said that, Fall had a pretty big impact on me. It takes the fear of heights to serious new levels. I will dive more into the plot specifics in a bit, but it spends a large amount of its time with our two lead characters who are stuck on an antenna. The singular, secluded setting will bring memories of Open Water, Buried and 127 Hours, to name a few. It is most truly a film tailored for the theatrical experience and one that will likely leave viewers squirming in their seats. It sure did that to me, and I am not one who is easily affected by most modern horror films. Indeed, this one got to me.
In the film’s opening moments, we find three characters rock climbing. We have seen enough movies to know that something is about to go wrong. And it does. While mountain climbing, Dan (Mason Gooding) falls to his death. Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) is his wife, and she is there and witnesses this. Her best friend, Hunter (Virginia Gardner) is also there. After Dan’s death, Becky turns to alcohol to cope and her relationship with her father played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan is broken. A lot of time has passed, and Hunter shows up one day and convinces Becky to climb a 2000-foot-high TV tower. She is hesitant at first, but before long, the two friends are on their way. One objective is for Becky to spread Dan’s ashes when they’re on the tower. They make it to the top of the tower, but the ladder breaks. Down below is a satellite in which they think will help them pick up a signal as their cell phones are virtually useless that high up. What works here is that the two girls are resourceful and think through the various options as to how they’re going to survive and get off the tower. From a single flare gun to very little water they have with them (that had fallen on the satellite, no less), this couldn’t be a more dire situation.
I am not exaggerating when I say that fall left me squirming in my seat through much of it. It left me very uncomfortable through much of the film. I say that as a positive, however, as it achieved the goal of putting that fear into me as a viewer. As much as I was involved, I also wanted the film to hurry up and end. It simply made that much of an impact on me. For one, the film is too long. It doesn’t reach the 2-hour mark, but this one would fit better in the 80–90-minute range as more focus would result in it being more impactful. I didn’t have to check my watch, but some tightening would’ve helped. There are also two surprises here. One is an obvious revelation about one of our main characters that didn’t feel entirely necessary. The other one is a pretty big curveball thrown at us late in the picture. There are some allusions made, but it did throw me off a bit. I think looking back and possibly a second viewing (if I can stomach it) might lessen the impact, but I feel it could’ve just as easily been left out. Some critics have complained about the CGI, stating that it’s obvious. Not to these eyes. I am not the type to nitpick that harshly. I can spot a fake image a lot of times, but here, it was very well done in my eyes. Apparently, the film had some 30 uses of the F-word re-dubbed to achieve its PG-13 rating. I didn’t find anything too noticeable on my viewing, but there was at least one use of it that stayed intact. As it stands, Fall proved to be entertaining and thrilling. Check it out.
Video: How’s it look?
Fall climbs its way onto Blu-ray sporting a 2.00:1 AVC HD encode. I suppose there’s a recent trend for films to be shown in a 2:1 aspect ratio these days? Not that I mind, but I figured it was worth noting. By and large, the film has a very sleek and glossy look to it. There are several broad, sweeping arial shots throughout with the main two protagonists being the center of attention. Backgrounds look sharp and in focus and while earthy-tones tend to dominate, there are some truly beautiful shots in the film. Detail is, as expected, spot on with strong contrast and black levels as well. It’s a good-looking film that adequately portrays both the sense of openness and claustrophobia at the same time.
Audio: How’s it sound?
If ever there’s a film that’s made for dialogue – it’s this one. The chatter between the two main actresses dominates the majority of the film, but we also get a lot of sparse, background noises. Things like the wind blowing and so forth to establish (and sell) the fact that these two ladies are, well, screwed. There isn’t a whole lot more to say about this one, it sounds as good as it should and gets the message across. A good effort.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Producer and Director Scott Mann and Producer James Harris collaborate on this track that explores the film’s backstory, casting and how in the world (and why) these two did what they did. It’s a good, fact-filled track that’s sure to appeal to fans of the film.
- Music Video – “I Have Never Felt So Alive” by Madison Beer.
- Fall: The Making Of – As we might expect, this features some talking heads about the movie, we get some behind the scenes footage and so forth.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
While not without its flaws, Fall still impressed me very much. I went into it with the simplest expectations that it would be an entertaining diversion, but it was far more impactful than that. The film left me more than a little shaken. I have a fear of heights and just wanted these characters to return to ground level. Hopefully it will get folks out to see it as it benefits from the theatrical setting. Recommended.