The following contains spoilers for Fall, which is currently playing in theaters.
On the surface, To fall was a typical suspense thriller, with two young women, Becky and Hunter, scaling a radio tower in the middle of nowhere. The women made the climb to sprinkle the ashes of Becky’s late husband, Dan, but were unaware that the structural integrity was failing, leading to them being abandoned. They ran out of supplies, not to mention no cell service, which painted a heartbreaking story of survival.
However, there were a few moments that really leaned into the darker side of the tragedy, with Becky’s sanity unraveling. Unfortunately, these weren’t explored as much, which was such a waste. If they had been much more detailed, To fall really could have been a nuanced psychological horror, nudging and pushing the emotions of the audience a bit more.
Now, as he watched the two best friends try to descend to get their drone to send out an SOS, then scale the tower to charge it to the light beacon, the footage looked pretty generic. But what made him better at Short At regular intervals, Becky was ambushed by bloodthirsty vultures bent on healing her wounds. Also, a big twist happened where Hunter died trying to get the drone, leading Becky to hallucinate him for the second half of the movie.
The movie then cut back to a conscious and shrunken Becky, sticking her phone into Hunter’s body, so she could drop the corpse to the ground, pick up a signal, and pull out the SOS. The problem is that the sequences built around horror added tension and suspense more than the scenes of Becky spending so much time looking for ridiculous and janky deus ex machinas. The physical danger was still there, but the mental danger elevated the film in those fleeting scenes, so it should have received more attention, which would have worked because Becky drowned her depression in pills and alcohol.
Thereby, To fall could have embraced Hunter’s death from the start rather than trying to hide it, having her “ghost”, as well as Becky’s husband, Dan, haunt Becky at the top of the tower. The groundwork was laid for this with the bombshell that Hunter and Dan had an affair, so seeing them in their zombie forms, especially since Dan died in a rock climbing accident with Becky, would have really shaken viewers . The movie already had the bruised form of Hunter urging Becky to be an alpha once the twist was revealed, while an earlier scene had Becky in bed with a bloody sheet next to Dan, so that direction would have fit the narrative. changing, surprising fans who haven’t been expecting this macabre diversion into the darkness of the three terrifying nights above.
By harassing them and trying to force Becky off the platform, the film would have added layers of fear that would pay homage to masters of horror like Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan, and Mike Flanagan. What would have made it even deeper is that these manifestations could have been the vultures attacking an injured Becky. Making her see the creatures as her demons would have spoken of how she was hurt by lies and infidelity, which would have attacked Becky’s damaged mind and body.
It would have been about Becky’s trauma coming to life and how the people she trusted came back as predators to prey on her sanity and end the hurt they had caused. In the end, it would have given To fall place to create monsters, with Becky, Dan, and the vultures blurring the line of what is real and not, which would then have made its corpse prank a palatable ending after the solid storytelling that preceded it. This way, To fall reportedly spent more time on the background of Becky’s story as she dug deeper to defeat two types of enemies: one in her imagination and one in the real world.
See how the psychological horror factor would have been better for Fall, now in theaters.