Lionsgate’s Fall is insanely terrifying, and, even with its faults, the performances of Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner make it a compelling thriller.
By no means am I a “thrill seeker,” and, while Lionsgate’s Fall (2022) didn’t do much to change that, it did manage to fascinate me. In the very beginning, that fascination was due to some fantastic shots (which are prevalent throughout its runtime). Said shots work in tandem with the haunting score by Tim Despic to create a constant unsettling environment for the viewer. The film brings you in with some solid shots during the introduction of our two main characters, gives you their backstory, and then locks you in for the nerve-wracking ride that is coming.
Fall (2022) centers on best friends Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner), a pair of climbers who are attempting to move on a year after a tragedy. The duo decides to climb the abandoned 2,000 ft (which is about twice the height of the Empire State Building) B67 TV Tower in the California desert. However, when the tower’s ladder gives way, Becky and Hunter find themselves trapped at the top on a platform. Unable to call for help, they must put their skills to the test and find a way down together.
Once Becky and Hunter reach the tower, the terror skyrockets. That’s once again thanks to the cinematography and the score. While watching Fall, my heart felt like it was going to jump straight out of my chest. I’ve never been what one would call afraid of heights, but this entire scenario left me in a state of terror even during the film’s quieter moments. There are also shots that might make you experience vertigo, which makes sense considering the premise revolves around two young women climbing a 2,000-foot radio tower.
Much like 47 Meters Down (2017) from the same producers, Fall isn’t what you’d call a great film. Does that mean it is a bad one? Not exactly: even when the script stumbles, Fall is still entertaining and terrifying. Those stumbles stim from developments that might make you groan out an “of course” in frustration. if you’ve seen 47 Meters, or any other modern horror film, you know that most are likely to have a groan worthy moment or several in which the protagonists run into added obstacles. There is also the added element of the other characters, like Mason Gooding’s Dan, who is Becky’s Husband and fellow climber, and Becky’s father, James (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Both men could’ve probably used more character development, but I understand that the narrative is so centered on Becky and Hunter, so I see why their roles are ultimately small but pivotal. They help move the story of our protagonists forward and help them grow, so I can’t harp on that as much as I would in any other case. While I would’ve liked to seen more from them (partially because Gooding and Dean Morgan are terrific actors in their own right), Dan and James aren’t pointless characters, they’re essential to the narrative without ever being the focus or taking away from our two leads.
The story, while predictable in some ways, does feature things that you may not see coming. Interestingly enough, I was so engulfed by the terror I felt while watching Fall that the story sort of took a backseat in terms of importance. The use of practical effects and director Scott Mann’s decision to shoot on location (though not on the actual tower, of course) rather than in a studio makes everything seem that much more real and heightened my nerves. The performances of Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner (along with their terrific chemistry) made me care about Becky and Hunter, and genuinely fear for their lives. Because I cared about the leads, I was invested in their journey (which ends up mostly satisfying on both ends) and enjoyed the bonding moments they shared.
Grace Caroline Currey is sensational as Becky, giving a chilling, and powerful performance. She takes every bit of what an up and down script gives her and runs with it. Gardner also seizes her moments in the spotlight throughout Fall and without these two, the film would be nowhere near as compelling. When you consider the character of Becky was inspired by a member of Director and co-writer Scott Mann’s wife’s family whose husband had died young, it makes you think about her in a separate way. I personally didn’t know that until after watching, and it made the character and Currey’s performance stand out even more. Currey makes you feel every bit of Becky’s grief and pain in subtle ways that you can’t put on a script page. The leads, along with the cinematography, score, and the downright terror you’ll feel, make Fall worth the watch.
Even if the story can have a bit of a B-movie feel, you can get into Fall because of everything else that it offers. Those that disagree with me will probably get good laughs out of the film and some of the things that happen to occur. If I hadn’t been terrified, my guess is there’s one moment that I would’ve laughed at. You won’t really lose by watching Fall: what you enjoy about it might just depend on your taste. Both sides will likely only be able to agree on the high quality of Currey and Gardner’s performances.
Major kudos must be given to the makeup artists, who do manage to give Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner some rough looks that reflect what their characters go through during the narrative of Fall. It makes you really feel the impact of being in that situation, along with the use of practical effects and shooting on location. Some of the special effects used don’t always hold up, but they aren’t bad by any means given what the crew had at their disposal.
The bombastic score by Tim Despic is so good, soundtracking the scariest moments of Fall with music that’s dark and later hopeful whenever the situation calls for it. Even though the film doesn’t really need it to add to the fear, it most certainly does so in an effective manner.
Overall, Fall is a thrill ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. The faults it has will likely be masked by feelings of terror. Not only that, but you’ll likely appreciate the cinematography and the outstanding performances of Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner in the lead roles. The film serves as a welcome surprise for me because I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it, and I came away having enjoyed every scary minute.
Fall was released in US theaters on August 12, 2022. The film will be available to watch in the US on digital and on demand on September 27, and on Blu-ray & DVD on October 18. In the UK, it will be released on Digital Home Premiere on October 3.