Cineworld, Edinburgh

Nearly twelve months after Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) loses her husband, Dan, in a tragic mountain climbing accident, she’s become a hard-drinking recluse, increasingly alienated from her worried father, James (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Then, out of the blue, she’s approached by Hunter (Virginia Gardner), who was with Becky and Dan on that fatal climb. Hunter is pursuing a new interest as a YouTuber, specialising in dangerous stunts while shouting “Whoo-hooh” into her iPhone. She wants Becky to accompany her on a different kind of climb, ascending a ladder to the top of an ageing TV tower, which – we are casually informed – is the fourth highest in the USA. 

After some doubts, Becky agrees to the trip and before you can say ‘bad idea’, the twosome  are clambering gamely upwards into the heavens…

Fall is a simple idea and one that doesn’t auger well for a one-hour-forty-seven-minute duration – so it’s to director Scott Mann’s credit that the story (co-written by Mann and Jonathan Frank) gets its tenacious hooks into you very quickly and holds you in a state of extreme anxiety right up to its conclusion.

Everything that can go wrong does go wrong: bad workmanship, hungry vultures, and Hunter’s insistence on pushing every boundary. It all adds to the torment, but it’s so cleverly handled, there’s barely time to consider how silly it all is. Furthermore, while I can’t be sure how much of this was actually done for real by stunt performers, it looks all-too convincing.

If some of the ‘revelations’ are perhaps a little too obviously sign-posted, there are others that really jerk the rug from under you (a perilous thing to do when you’re hundreds of feet in the air).

As somebody who isn’t good with heights this is a particularly intense experience but, it’s a thriller and I can hardly complain that I’ve been shortchanged.

4 stars

Philip Caveney 

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