Fall Is a Nail-Bitingly Tense Survival Thriller

I have to be honest, I was a bit skeptical going into Fall. It’s about two women who get stuck at the top of a 2,000-foot radio tower with no way down, and while that sounds absolutely terrifying, it also sounds like a really thin concept that could easily get old halfway through the movie’s runtime. So, I kept my expectations low as I walked into the theater, and I’m happy to report that the film was actually a very pleasant surprise.

Fall was directed by Scott Mann, and it stars Grace Caroline Currey and Virginia Gardner. It also has some glorified cameo appearances by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Mason Gooding, but they’re not in the movie very much. This is Currey and Gardner’s film from start to finish, and they star as the two best friends, Becky and Hunter, who climb the humongous radio tower and get stuck at the top. Once they’re up there, the rest of the story is all about their various attempts to stay alive and find a way down, and as you can probably guess, it takes every last bit of their strength, skill, and ingenuity.

For about the first 20 minutes or so, Fall just introduces you to the characters and the story, and to be honest, it’s not great. It feels really generic, and you can see pretty much every plot beat coming from a mile away. Even Currey and Gardner’s performances aren’t all that memorable in this part of the movie. They get a lot better as the film goes on, but for these first 20 minutes, they just don’t get enough to do. To be fair, they do an admirable job with what they’re given, but the script doesn’t give them enough to make their characters anything more than generic stereotypes we’ve seen a million times before.

Becky and Hunter at the top of the tower

However, that begins to change when Becky and Hunter start climbing the tower. Right from the get-go, director Scott Mann does a great job of letting you know just how tall this thing is. He makes you feel like you’re right there with the characters as they climb further and further, and when the camera looks down to show you how up they are, anybody with even a hint of acrophobia (fear of heights) is going to start squirming in their seat.

And I don’t just mean that as a figure of speech. I’m a bit acrophobic myself, and my anxiety was through the roof pretty much the entire time. I literally felt it in my stomach, and my palms started to sweat when things got even the slightest bit tense. There were even a bunch of times when I really did squirm in my seat and whisper a few words I probably shouldn’t repeat here, so this was quite possibly the most uncomfortable movie theater experience of my entire life (but in a good way!).

Fall just does an amazing job of milking its admittedly thin premise for all the tension it’s worth, so even if you’re not afraid of heights, I think you’ll still probably enjoy all the sky-high frights this film has to offer. Not only are the scares and suspense executed really well, but the movie also excels at constantly finding new ways to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Like I said before, I was afraid the premise would get old after a while, but it never does. Murphy’s Law is in full effect here, so every time Becky and Hunter think they might’ve found a way to get down safely, something goes wrong. To be fair, there are one or two times when this pattern goes a bit too far, but for the most part, it keeps the story fresh and exciting the whole way through.

Becky and Hunter looking at the tower

On top of the cool horror/thriller elements, Fall also works quite well on a human level. In particular, the two main characters become really easy to root for once things begin to go south for them. Not only do Currey and Gardner make them feel like real people, but the actresses also have great chemistry together, so you totally buy into their friendship. It feels like they genuinely care about each other, and that in turn makes you even more invested in them and their survival.

And in my opinion, that’s the real reason why Fall works so well. Sure, the stomach-churning tension is great, but that can only go so far. As with any horror movie, if you’re not scared for the characters, you won’t be scared by anything in the film, so it really stands or falls on the strength of its characters. And thankfully, the two leads totally nail their roles, so they carry this entire movie from beginning to end.

So, at the end of the day, I’m glad to say that if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I heartily recommend that you check out Fall. To be fair, it’s not a particularly deep story, and it doesn’t really have much that can appeal to viewers who aren’t fans of this kind of horror, so if you’re looking for anything more than just a 100-minute exercise in nail-biting acrophobic tension, you’re probably better off watching something else. But if this sounds like the kind of movie you’d enjoy, I think the characters and the sky-high scares are more than enough to make this film worth your time.

Fall is playing in theaters right now.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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