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|Index||88 reviews in total|
This movie started off well with an interesting idea, but somehow ran
out of steam, or commitment, about half way through.
Melissa George and her friends go climbing in Scotland and stumble across a secret buried in the woods. They try and go for help but discover that they're not alone. The movie starts off as slow burning and intriguing, with plenty of sweeping shots of the rugged Scottish landscape, it then changes abruptly about half way through, losing all of its subtlety and becomes a standard chase movie with guns. It's almost as if the director lost their nerve and decided to go for blood and glory just in case the audience gets a little bored. Some scenes seem to be thrown in just so someone else can be killed, and the body count by the end of the movie is a bit on the high side.
The acting is fine, and I don't have any huge issues with the script, it's just it could of been a nice little thriller rather than half a good movie, and half a predictable one.
I was lucky enough to be present at the world premiere of this film at Actionfest and listened in on a short Q&A with the director. Opening with some incredible, and real, footage of people climbing sheer rock faces, "A Lonely Place to Die" never lets up until the final credits roll. Unafraid to take the film in unexpected directions, director Gilbey had the audience gasping in surprise at multiple moments and I noticed a man in front of me leaning further and further forward as the story progressed. A great cast handled the nuanced script with real skill. The characters are presented with many layers and it's clear that they all have pasts and various human weaknesses but the film doesn't take the time to explain things out clearly. It is up to the audience to infer ( if they are interested ) in what might have happened in their pasts. This is genius scripting in what is essentially a simple action movie. There is depth if you care to look for it, otherwise just hold on to your seat and be prepared for some serious excitement. I can't wait for this to hit wide release and see what sort of reaction the rest of the world has towards this top-notch thriller.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Being Scottish I was keen to see our great landscapes on the big screen
and went in not knowing much about this film. It started really well
looking like a superb survival in the mountains flick, the mountains
and scenery where amazing, cast was all right but then the film changed
direction for the worse.
I don't tend to give spoilers on any reviews but this verged on the ridiculous, first of all how did the villains manage to stumble upon two guys with rifles in middle of nowhere?, how many shots do they need to kill someone?, how did the little girl survive after being underwater for an eternity?. These are just some of the holes in this film that just don't get answered or would never happen.
And the festival in the street, I'm Scottish and I have never seen a street festival in any town where there is breasts out while kids watch. Script writer must have been watching Wicker man too much.
This should have been something special but lacked the nerve in the second half of film. A poor man's Deliverance.
With British horror now returning to the peak it previously reached so
many years ago at the height of the Hammer Horror fame, it's slowly but
surely become one of the freshest genres around. With such original
titles as 'Severance', 'Eden Lake' and most notably 'The Descent'
gracing our screens with their deeply chilling presence as of late, all
eyes have been transfixed on Film4's Frightfest, Britain's leading
horror-based film festival, for the latest slice of truly horrifying
cinema. As this year's closing night film, 'A Lonely Place to Die'
found itself walking in the footsteps of some true hidden gems, but
could it live up to expectations?
As the brainchild of previously uncelebrated brothers Julian and Will Gilbey, 'A Lonely Place to Die' will most likely not register on many people's radars. The untraditional location and lack of star power will mean many shall overlook it's existence, but hidden behind the shoestring budget, the relatively unknown cast and the oddly basic sounding plot lies a deeply disturbing and involving thriller with little use of exhausted clichés and an unbelievably unpredictable narrative.
Despite a rather breezy but nail-biting opening, the Gilbey brothers hold off on the majority of the shocks until at least half-way in, allowing the basic emotional structure and tone of the picture to fully take hold first. A rather basic introduction is rather quickly washed over, the dialogue clunky but acceptable and the mood settling nicely. However, when the script does begin to take off and lives are lost in the blink of an eye, the film truly kicks it into overdrive. What the Gilbeys to do so well is to capture the shock of loss. The sickeningly fast pace of death and how quickly it can creep up on you. It is here where they truly reach their winning stride, a solid 30 minutes of the movie bang in the middle providing incredibly alarming and startling fresh thrills literally appearing as if out of no where. One second the mood is calm then a second later, another life lost. Doubtlessly marvellous.
Veteran-horror-chick Melissa George leads the pack of otherwise unnoticeable climbers, assassins and lost little girls, her performance both solid and believable but never once bordering on the outstanding. Her fellow cast members too tow the line ably but none particularly shine, their characters becoming nothing more than nicknames, but likable nicknames at that. It is more the presence of certain characters than the characters themselves that begin to command the scares, one powerfully-stomached assassin becoming almost an unstoppable force and a true sense of fear within the viewer's mind.
Following the rather intense and erratically unforeseeable events of the second act, the plot begins to flesh itself out a tad, unfortunately losing much of the suspense and fear that so dominated the previous section. Much more of the Gilbeys' obvious dialogue and sudden character appearances are thrown in in an attempt to fuel some rather strange and disconcerting explanations, forcing the thumping pace back down to a general saunter, sadly wrecking the previously unpredictable tone.
When the finale does eventually come however, it thankfully manages to mimic the truly demented tone of the second act at least partially, creating a nail-biting yet slightly foreseeable conclusion. Although it might not be the painfully dark and sinister climax many may hope for, it's certainly a fitting end to a surprisingly thrilling and incredibly shocking piece of British cinema.
Although filled with pointless landscaping shots (which remain beautiful for all of a minute) and shamefully poor dialogue, 'A Lonely Place to Die' succeeds in creating an astoundingly rickety and worrying tone in which no character's safety is guaranteed, leaving you both unsettled and gasping for more. It's far from perfect, but exists as a wonderfully disconcerting experience, earning itself a place amongst the other hidden gems of the British horror market; 'A Lonely Place to Die' demands and deserves your attention.
Basically the anti-Kill List, instead of slowly building to an
incredible conclusion this one starts off with the intensity at ten and
then peaks way too soon, leading to a disappointing final act. That
doesn't take away from the power of the first hour though. The premise
is horror simplicity; a group of friends go up to the mountains to do
some climbing and stumble across something they weren't supposed to.
The first hour leads them down this dangerous road of bullets and blood that honestly had me straining to catch my breathe. A lot of, "Holy crap!" moments almost from the start and the insanity just builds as more characters are introduced and the intensity is matched by the pure mystery of just what in the hell is going on in these mountains.
Of course like most cases of such a promising start, as we get more answers to who these people are and what their motivation is things become significantly more mundane and lead to a final act that just equates to waiting for what you know is going to happen to happen. It's really disappointing because that middle act has got to be some of the most intense stuff I've seen all year and I'd say it's worth watching for that alone, even if it doesn't pay off on it's promise.
Yet again I am surprised by a movie that was little more than a random
recording off a satellite channel. Expecting something that might be
OK, I actually saw a very good movie indeed. The crazy thing is that
I'd never heard of it before. I don't remember seeing any reviews of it
and it certainly never had any exposure in the British press. But why?
It might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's much better than the
average Hollywood blockbuster that has a budget twenty times bigger
than this. I have a pretty jaundiced view of the state of British film
making but when I see a really good one like this then I think perhaps
there is hope.
The Highland locations and the cinematography grabbed my attention right away. The plot surprised me (remember I knew nothing about it beforehand) and kept me guessing as to what genre it was. Was it a thriller, adventure film or a horror film? Could be any of these. I've subsequently read reviews that classify it as a horror film but, whilst it has elements you'd associate with horror, I wouldn't put it in that genre. This is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. If you are in a single genre then you have to follow the tropes of that genre to be true to it. If you aren't making a genre film then you have more flexibility to be different.
It isn't perfect (what film is?) One sequence seems to feature the most incompetent pair of sharpshooters ever seen in a film and some of the dialogue is difficult to make out in places. It might work on The Wire but it doesn't work in a film with little dialogue in the first place.
There are clear influences from other films and, in particular, a sequence that owes much to The Wicker Man but these are done well and add to the viewing experience.
A great British film, not a phrase you often hear from me. I just wish I'd been able to catch it in the theatre
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had high hopes and I wanted it to baffle and thrill and excite me, I
really did. Instead I found myself cursing and muttering at the
ludicrous implausibility of the storyline. If, as a member of a group
of innocent mountain-climbers, you suddenly find yourself under attack
from an unseen assailant above you, would you run into the most obvious
place to be seen and keep shouting "Anna!" at the top of your voice?
No, you would creep under cover and keep very, very quiet.
At one point, there was the choice to take one route which was an easy walk of about 12 miles to go back or to take the other which was only 4 miles but risking life and limb by climbing down a really perilous drop. The 12 mile route would take a bit longer but would be risk free. Everybody was in OK shape for the walk so then why do the crazy thing? Didn't the producer believe that one of them might just realize, "Hmmm...whoever put her there might be a bit annoyed when we set her free, so we had better keep a look out for bad guys..."? Nope, not for one moment. And as for staging a Rio-type Carnival in the middle of a highland backwater, I don't think so. As soon as the dancing girl emerged, a local Kirk elder would have nipped out and thrown a woolly rug over her to cover her up before chasing the rest of the troupe out of town.
And this was the problem throughout - the constant irritation that people just do not behave like that in real life unless they are really, really dumb or if the producer thinks that we are really, really dumb so we will accept it. It was impossible to develop any kind of sympathy for the protagonists because I kept wanting to give them a good slap and tell them stop being so stupid. It reflected a total contempt by the producer to credit the audience with a shred of common sense. And once that respect was lost,it was impossible to regain it because the implausibility hits just kept on coming.
So, if you like aerial views of Scottish mountains, you will have a ball. If you like thrillers with a remotely believable plot, you will have a real problem with this one.
Having seen the more popular and might I say average to poor movies at the present time like Inbetweeners, Cowboys & Aliens & Final Destination 5 I wasn't planning to go to the cinema anytime soon. I just happened to catch a very short advert for ALPTD on the TV and checked it out on IMDb. Having a good review score we decided to go see it. To my surprise only one out of three cinemas was showing this movie and on arrival noticed the lack of people in the theatre (Three couples including us). I started to think that we had made a wrong choice. How wrong I was. The sheer scale of the opening scene was breath taking and really drew us in ready for the rest of the film. The pace of the film was perfect and the element of surprise was always there. There were 1 or 2 minor continuity errors but these were cleared up within the next few minutes. The level of violence was just right for a film like this not being glamorised or pornographied. I have to point out also that the child abuse issue is handled very well and the bar is set at what may be considered to be a 'comfortable movie level' (if there is such a thing), it could have been a lot worse but the director clearly has morals and making it quite clear it is not that type of film although it could have quite easily been. The excitement runs consistently throughout and the music/sound effects add to the overall excitement. Although a few of the actors are slightly wooden this is quickly and cleverly counter acted/covered up by the good ones and fast passed action. Good story, cleverly layed out in a gorgeous but deadly setting. Who could ask for more.
I was not entirely sure what to expect prior to watching 'A Lonely
Place to Die'; the plot intrigued me however after reading a multitude
of negative reviews I was uncertain this film would be enjoyable.
This lack of certainty was unjustified, as I found this movie very entertaining. The pacing is spot-on and the acting is solid throughout; in addition to this, the film was not too predictable, therefore I was more than happy to see this movie through until the end. Sean Harris is also, in my opinion, a key contributor to my positive opinion of this film, as he is expectantly brilliant as always.
Overall, what stops this film from being fantastic is the lack of depth, characterisation and stand-out moments, however if you are looking for an interesting, entertaining British film with a few fresh ideas and solid acting, this is worth your time.
What's to me has been a pretty lackluster year for gripping thrillers A Lonely Place To Die is a refreshing and well executed one that has a solid payoff. The acting was solid from everyone though their accents kind of got in the way and was distracting and sometimes hard to understand but the highlight here was Melissa George in her best leading performance yet. The balance of themes like survival, kidnapping/ransom, stalk and kill, cat and mouse, revenge and action was stellar and close to perfection and though most of that is all too familiar by now it hasn't been as effective as this one in as long as I can remember. When it gets down and dirty it doesn't hold back and I'm not saying that it's overly graphic but just very intense and suspenseful which is most of the time way better than a splatterfest but just good old fashioned. The filming of the raw, haunting atmosphere was fantastic and has edge, it was breathtaking in intensity and beauty and the fact that it jumps to different locations and not stay at one the whole time added to the thrill in a roller-coaster ride of a chase and fight for safety in a lonely place where no one can here you scream, very harrowing stuff. Overall this is the best thriller of the year and deserved to be a wide theatrical release because to me it puts the wide released ones like Drive, Hanna and the Straw Dogs remake to shame, studios back this one up now so it can get a proper wide release that it should certainly earn. Recommended! 7.5 out of 10
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