Fast Runtime: With a lot of experimental films, directors sometimes lose their ability to tell the story in a short amount of time and go to the three hour mark. Fortunately, Fall is not one of those films, doing very well to handle the entire ordeal in rough 84 minutes. The pacing is decent, finding good ways to utilize the moment to get character development while also keeping the suspenseful element strong. It's a nice mixture of the two elements and helps bring at least decent representation of both thrills and drama spills.
Great Musical Score: This movie is one of those where music really makes a difference at those key elements. Fall may not have the biggest or most unique track list, but it utilizes the limited song title quite well to really add the finesse and inspiration these scores do. Cherry Pie as a casual rock out moment and then as an inspiration cheer was quite fun and a good connecting point. While orchestral scores make up those killer finishing shots that are amazing across the board. There is not much I can say pass this, but perhaps Fall will at least make you want to listen to the 80s song again.
Message Is Powerful: So many movies these days are about delivering that gigantic message to hopefully inspire the "change" that we all "need." Fall has a couple of deep messages that do well to display some important topics, and most of them are pretty good. There is some trauma, no surprise right as these movies go, and how to handle these moments or at least the mindset some face, is decently glimpses in this film. Other moments like facing the fears, the will to survive, and pushing yourself are very big in this film, and there is surprising wisdom and class in the dialogue and filming to really show this message. It's target audience in particular should be inspired the most and find the words in particular worthy of being on your social media quotes.
Acting Is Good: This movie heavily focuses on two characters and the actresses are the ones to hold much of the attention of the film. Let's get this out of the way, they are very attractive, one the bosom blonde with that fiery energy, the other one delicate gorgeous and sensitive. With those superficial components out of the way, the girls are very good at displaying the qualities you need for this very focused movie. Morgan, for what little he is in it, does well with his time, and manages to deliver his few lines with fantastic abilities. Gardner is vibrant and playing the typical thriller type woman you see in these films. She's bold, she brings the one liners and meme looks that modern generations love, and of course representing the new generation of humans. She's bold, she talks a lot, and yet has some deeper layers that come out as the film progresses to help break the superficial mirror a bit. Yet it's Currey who claims my vote for best acting. As Becky, she really brings so many qualities that I grasped onto, her story deeper, more developed, and more realistic to help round out the character. Most of her acting is solid and sincere, and was the character that annoyed me the least with the direction that they took. Well done!
The Makeup: You can guess that trouble does eventually ensue if you have seen the trailers, which means the potential to suffer from the consequences. Fall is all about making the suffering look real, the make-up and effects solid as the girls gradually look dehydrated, exhausted and exposed to the element. It adds that suspense and experience effect, really selling to me just how miserable something like this would be if it happened. And when other things happen, they pull out some impressive tricks to make it believable.
Great Presentation: I can't say much about this, but let's just say that this presentation was solid for telling the story they wanted. Fall does a great job of laying out the story, and plotting out gradual transition of this journey, bringing things into a gradual build up to again help keep that attempt at suspense going. It is mostly very natural, and the editing solid to deliver so much in such a short amount of time. And when the climax hits, all the effects come together to finish the thrill ride in that last drop.
The Cinematography: My favorite part of the whole movie, the cinematography is key to what makes this movie the spectacle it is. This film really pulled a lot of tricks to make the tower look as foreboding as it should be. MacGregor finds all the right angle to get the scene going, from upward shots of the tower, to the angles looking down the valley below to establish the magnitude of the climb. Then he takes it one step further finding the perfect shot to continue showing everything the girls are experiencing including: close ups of them really struggling, the dynamic angle changes as they dangle from ropes and the fleeting shots as they try to solve their predicaments. For so many movie pieces, MacGregor, and the editing team afterwards, really brings it all together to give you the Thriller element without the shaky camera. And then there are other moments I can't share that help immerse me into the movie, helping give that overall picture of what they are doing. I can't say much more, so let's move to my limitations for this movie.
More Morgan: Let's face it. He's a top billed actor and there is more we could have done with the talent that Morgan can bring. Whether more time at the beginning, more integration into the other's life, or even shots of him trying to find them would have been welcome. These moments would have integrated the story a little better, and brought that extra angle to help the solution be a little more realistic than what they did. Though, the solution is definitely unique.
More Story Needed: There were so many avenues to explore for the two girls being on the tower as long as they were. Fall had a very big opportunity to utilize the secrets they were holding and gradually reveal how deep the rabbit hole went. While from a time sake they hit the highlights, from another element they skimped on helping further explore the motifs they were trying to present. Having Morgan's character involved could have given even more to give these girls the best depth possible.
Animal Cruelty I did not Need to See: Animal cruelty is potentially something I do not like to see. I can handle if it has a purpose, and for one of them it did work for the sake of the story. However, an early scene showed something I don't enjoy seeing and could have been edited out or done a different way. Does it accomplish the horror, foreshadowing, and mood to come? Yep, but again, it crosses a line for me.
Some In your Face Dialogue That's Cheesy: One thing that modern writers seem to have to do is rub the dialogue in your face to prove the point. Much of the dialogue was either okay or good, but there are other moments, particularly at the beginning, and some of Hunter's dialogue, that is really grueling. Like out of a book of Full House, the "inspirational" comes out a bit cheesy and I was just waiting for the actions to finally prove what the words could not do for me. I don't know if it was the writing, the direction, or the acting, perhaps all three, but those in your face moments did not work for me. Again, I think the target audience in this aspect will love it, enjoying the theatrics that really blow it up. But goers like me, may pray for something better and just bite their tongues to get by it.
Stupidity and Suspense of Disbelief Get A Little Out of Hand: One thing that is tough to avoid in these movies, is the various actions that occur to get the characters into the mess. Champion thrillers for me, are the ones that know how to craft it organically, but Fall's case follows the trend of our characters being stupid. The level of stupidity is kind of extreme, a bit insulting given the lessons they already learned. I mean climbing a rusted, banned tower for thrills... really that is the plot. Then as things progress, you see just how poor one of the characters is, and how stupid they seem to selectively be to push them to have to MacGyver up some quick fix solutions. Those moments are kind of too much for me, and could have changed the movie big time if they had just taken their own advice to save them trouble. And, the series of unfortunate events that happens gets a little ridiculous at times to the point of the stroke of bad luck being a tad too much. It hits comic relief and helps drag out the thrills, but at times I was like, I just predicted that would happen and you did it. This adds more cheese factor to the movie and was probably the biggest frustration of the film for me.
Fall was a bit deeper than I had anticipated from the trailers and cast. It blends elements of other thriller films in this category, and expands past the sorority girl motif to give us better characters. The messages are strong, the presentation and layout linear and decently paced, with acting that helps craft a better quality situation than what we got. Of course it's the visual and sound effects, including music, that really make the movie as intense as it is, with a fantastic blend of shots edited together to stir up any acrophobia you might have. With all the good, the movie needed ironically a little more time to fully flesh out the characters, alongside adding more time with Morgan's character as well. Fall's biggest limitation for me though is the cheese factor and how stupid the movie went sometimes. While some of the idiocy is relieved, there are other times where the lack of logic is mind blowing given the plan they had mentioned five seconds before it. Overall though, worthy of a theater visit for the effects, while definitely a recommendation to watch at home.
My scores are:
Movie Overall 6.0.
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