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FALL: 3 STARS. “a simple film that delivers the vertigo inducing goods.”

If the name “Vertigo” wasn’t already taken by a classic movie, it could very well have been the title of the new fear-of-heights thriller “Fall,” now playing in theatres. Mostly set on a tiny platform high above the earth, it is a dizzying experience.

“Fall” begins with thrill seekers Becky (Grace Fulton) and husband Dan (Mason Gooding) clinging to the side of a mountain. When tragedy strikes, Becky is left alone and traumatized. Off the mountain she lives in fear, and her father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is convinced she is medicating herself with alcohol.

Her adrenaline junkie friend Hunter (Virginia Gardner) thinks Becky needs to get back up on the horse, put fear aside and pay tribute to Dan by climbing an abandoned 2000-foot radio tower in the middle of nowhere. They’ll scale the structure, spread his ashes and bring closure to Becky’s suffering.

The expert climbers scale the tower with the aid of a rickety old ladder, which falls apart as they rise. At the top, they perch on a small platform, but their elation is fleeting. With the ladder in pieces, getting down to ground level is going to test not only their skills as mountaineers, but the bond of their friendship.

The pleasure of “Fall,” I suppose, is voyeuristic. We can watch Becky and Hunter try and figure their way back to safety, while not actually being nibbled on by vultures ourselves. It’s a relief. We’re glad we’re not them, and that gives us the thrill, the dopamine rush we want, as we remain safe in an earthbound theatre.

Like “Open Water,” “47 Meters Down” or “27 Hours,” and other endurance dramas that place a person or persons in untenable situations of their own making, “Fall” is a cautionary tale. The old saying may be that, “the biggest risk is taking no risk at all,” but that, I think, applies more to the stock market than it does to climbing 2000-foot poles in the middle of nowhere. Becky and Hunter take unnecessary risks to make themselves feel alive and, whoops, end up endangering their own lives.

It’s hard to conjure up a great deal of sympathy for their ridiculous situation, particularly since neither are particularly well-rounded characters, but nonetheless “Fall” is a visceral experience. It’s a mix-and-match of hopelessness, frustration and resilience, captured, despite some dodgy CGI, with some impressive high-flying photography by director Scott Mann and cinematographer MacGregor.

“Fall” is a simple film with a simple premise. It lags in the middle and overstays its welcome by fifteen or twenty minutes, but as a story of survival against insurmountable odds it delivers the vertigo inducing goods.

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