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. While I recommend the film as it is one of 2022’s finer offerings, it isn’t without a few problems. 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. Hopefully, the Home Video release will give us an uncensored version, if available. As it stands, Fall proved to be an entertaining and thrilling night out at the movies. Check it out.
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.