When someone tells you not to look down, you can’t help but do it.
In Fall, it’s advice you should really take.
But you can’t help it.
And it’s worth it.
Directed by Scott Mann, Fall tells the story of Becky (Grace Caroline Currey), a young woman grieving the death of her husband. However, when her best friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner) decides to climb to the top of the fourth highest structure in the US, a remote, abandoned radio tower called B67, she enlists Becky to join her. But when the ladder breaks and the two women are stranded atop the structure, they must fight to survive the elements and its dizzying height until help arrives.
Set atop a 2000 ft radio tower, one could be forgiven for taking that there would be about as much story in Fall as there is space for its characters to move around. After all, it can be awfully difficult to maintain interest in a single location thriller. However, Fall keeps from toppling. Fun, intense and surprisingly engaging, the film is a tightly-written little thriller that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Clocking in at 107 minutes, Fall takes a simple premise and manages to keep the viewer engaged with some (mostly) surprising twists from its characters. As Becky and Hunter, Currey and Gardner have good chemistry with one another, even at times when the dialogue is lacking. Without giving any spoilers, the relationship between Hunter and Becky proves to be more complicated than we realize and the two play well enough off of each other to bring some emotion to the story beyond the peril.
But the real star of the film is the tower itself.
At every possible moment, Fall wants you feel the terror of the incredible height of the B67 tower. Shot using practical effects, Mann’s camera never allows you to forget the terrifying elevation of this tiny perch. Although one could have chosen to create the illusion using CGI, Mann instead opts to shoot the film on a smaller tower with real mountains in the background. As a result, Fall has an unexpected sense of authenticity that emphasizes the nausea-inducing altitude perfectly for the big screen experience. (Mann has even stated that his visual style for the film was heavily influenced by the intensity of such films as Free Solo, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Dawn Wall.)
However, despite its focused intensity, Mann ensures that he has a story to tell as well. Despite the film’s emphasis on the terrifying drop, Fall is very much a film about learning to moving forward after trauma. Becky remains haunted by the loss of her husband. Having lost his during a perilous climb almost a year earlier, Becky bears the scars of the experience and lives in constant fear. Struggling to free herself from the pain, Hunter (known as ‘Danger D’ to her thousands of followers) encourages her to conquer fear by ‘kicking it in the crotch’. As a popular influencer, Hunter believes that fear is what keeps us from living our lives and she attacks it head-on.
But Becky isn’t so sure. For her, fear is a space in which to hide. When challenged to climb B67, her apprehension stems more from the possibility of losing another person that she loves than it does about her own well-being. Though, as time passes and the two women cling to their tiny ledge, Becky must find the courage to lean inwards and process her fear and hurt.
In Fall, the greatest fear is facing your own pain
While one doesn’t necessarily hope that Fall inspires a new franchise, it’s certainly entertaining fare for the dog days of summer. Making the best possible use of his cinematography, Mann manages to lift Fall to unexpected heights and bring us along for the ride.
But, trust me, don’t look down.
Fall is available in theatres on Friday, August 12th, 2022.