Scott Mann’s latest dizzying thriller Fall has arrived on Netflix, and it is proving to be one of the best movies the streaming platform has gained in months. It is arguably the only movie worth watching this weekend.
The horror genre loves a high-concept setup, with countless examples of movies with one basic premise from which drama and terror radiate. From Saw to Escape Room, these concepts thrive on their simplicity alone, rarely proving to be better than their simple origins that reflect the visceral, jump-scare terror of a fairground haunted house.
Though dotted with horror elements, the latest high-concept release from Signature Entertainment is a thrill ride more akin to those roller coaster rides that suspend you high in the air rather than the freaky scares of a rudimentary haunted house tour. Though, much like such vertical fairground experiences, Fall is thrilling for all but a matter of moments before anxiety sets in and ‘you just want to get off’.
Wearing its modest $3million budget on its sleeve, Fall’s opening sequence establishes the source of the drama without much hesitation as Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and her boyfriend Dan (Mason Gooding) scale a perilous rock face with close friend Shiloh (Virginia Gardner) and a mist of poorly-rendered CGI. Taking risks that the everyday climber wouldn’t dare at such knee-wobbling heights, the scene ends with the almost inevitable demise of the boyfriend, falling to his death after a feathered fright.
Several months later, Shiloh convinces Becky to get over the death of her lover and ditch the bottom of the bottle for the height of an impossibly tall radio tower in the middle of nowhere. Making it to the top after a tense climbing sequence, the girls celebrate their arrival and mourn the loss of their friend and lover by scattering Dan’s ashes from the top, before the ladder that brought them up tumbles to the ground. Cue movie.
It would be amiss not to state the obvious in that Fall executes its core concept very well, almost immediately establishing a genuinely dizzying sense of acrophobia with flowing cinematography that makes good use of its very limited space. Such helps energise the film with a decent pace, maintaining interest for far longer than the basic story might suggest from the offset, even if this does slowly ebb away with the film’s needlessly long runtime.
What should be kept to a tight 80 minutes is stretched out with an additional 30 minutes of needless content, devaluing an initial concept that is well executed with repetitive scenes that force you into hoping both protagonists just jump off the tower and get this farce over with.
Lacking the necessary pace and narrative dynamism to be elevated from its high concept roots, Fall never quite reaches the heights of its potential, leaving you with the impression that it could have worked a little harder during its time on screen. It all leads to a somewhat half-hearted climax in which the viewer is deprived of the one singular moment they have been waiting for for over 120 agonising minutes.
For the result of a movie on a limited budget, Fall is a success in the smallest sense of the word, delivering exactly what you might expect judging from the poster. It’s perfectly serviceable movie fodder, though we seriously wouldn’t recommend watching it together with a bountiful takeaway of any kind.