Review by Sean Boelman
Many don’t realize that, in addition to their theatrical oeuvre, Lionsgate is one of the premier distributors of straight-to-VOD content. Sometimes, one of their films that was seemingly meant for home release finds its way into the company’s theatrical distribution arm, and that seems to be the case with the straightforward survival thriller Fall.
The movie follows two adrenaline junkies who get stuck on the top of one of the highest radio towers in America when the ladder they used to climb up breaks. In other words, it’s about a couple of people who trespass on a dangerous site and expect us to sympathize with them despite their own stupidity being the cause of their plight.
Perhaps the biggest sin committed by the film is that it stretches a concept for an eighty-minute movie into an hour and forty minutes. The build-up to them actually getting onto the radio tower takes far too long. Ultimately, anyone who is going to see this movie is looking for thrills, not for character drama.
It definitely could have helped if the character work weren’t so aggressively mediocre. The character motivations are so basic and generic. The script’s attempt to give the movie some emotional weight through the plot through a grief subplot would be genuinely laughable if it was even the least bit developed.
For the most part, the dynamic between the two main characters works really well. That is until, in an attempt to revitalize a narrative that is quickly running out of steam, additional drama is added to the mix with embarrassingly melodramatic results. For some reason, it couldn’t just be two friends stuck on the top of a radio tower — there had to be ridiculous drama.
Grace Fulton and Virgina Gardner are both admittedly pretty bad in their roles. Sadly, neither one has enough charisma to be the lead of a movie in which they are ultimately the only two actors for much of the runtime. The chemistry between the two isn’t bad, but it’s also not enough to carry the film. The two big names in the cast, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Mason Gooding, only get a couple of scenes each.
That being said, for all of the problems the movie has with its script and acting, it’s shot decently well. Although the film obviously wasn’t shot in dangerous conditions, director Scott Mann does a good enough job of convincing us of the stakes. The action sequences are also shot in a solidly pulse-pounding way.
Fall definitely isn’t a good movie, but for what it is, it’s mildly entertaining. The script is derivative, it’s too long, and the actors don't really know what they’re doing. Still, if you’re looking for a straightforward, mindless survival thriller, this could hit the spot.
Fall hits theaters on August 12.