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Watch 'Fall' if you want to agitate your deep phobias. I'll be down here.


If you’re the sort of person who likes to watch movies that agitate your deep phobias, well, you’re very strange to me. But: have I got a movie for you.

It’s called Fall, which, as you might guess, describes the danger present throughout the film. The movie gets off to a rough start, both for the characters and for us. For them, because we begin with a man falling to his death off a sheer mountain wall while his wife and her best friend look on in horror. For us, because haphazard editing and wooden dialogue make us worry about the quality of what lies ahead. But stick around, because whoa, nelly.

As we near the anniversary of her husband’s death, Becky is depressed and drinking too much. Her best friend has become a star YouTuber who has a channel devoted to her extreme climbing feats. She convinces Becky to break out of her grief by coming with her to climb an abandoned 2,000-foot TV tower, where we spend the rest of the movie, and thank goodness, because the other stuff doesn’t matter.

What matters is that they climb to the top and get stuck, with the wind, and vultures, and a terrifying view. And I will tell you, even just watching this on a screen is stomach-churning. They dangle, and slip, and sometimes almost fall, and at least one shot even made me yelp out loud. They have a few items with them, and part of the fun is watching them try to puzzle out what to do, although really, we’re just there to feel nauseated.

There are unnecessary interpersonal tensions and pat dialogue about not being afraid of life, and this lack of confidence in the central idea does hold the movie back, when it would have been better served by just stripping it entirely down to two people on a tower. One late development is extremely silly and would have been far more effective if played straight. But fortunately, this doesn’t lessen the effectiveness of the hour or so before it, and the last few minutes of the film are deliciously grotesque. Fall is one of those movies where you know what you’re going to get and you mostly get it, done well with a few surprises. You already know if this is for you. Me, I’ll be down here.

Fall is in theaters August 12th. 

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.