Film Review: A Lonely Place to Die
Review by Kayley Viteo
First things first: A Lonely Place to Die isn’t a horror film. It can best be described as an action thriller, and in terms of action it certainly delivers. However, A Lonely Place to Die isn’t very thrilling so much as it is kind of boring.
A group of rock climbers, including Alison (Melissa George, who genre fans should know), find a young girl buried alive in the Scottish Highlands. Realizing she’s been kidnapped, they begin to descend the mountain in search of a nearby town. But, as savvy moviegoers know, where kidnapped children go, mercenaries follow. A Lonely Place to Die is no different, and fifteen minutes in, everything goes downhill. (Pun firmly intended.)
A Lonely Place to Die can be broken down thusly: 75% Melissa George running, 5% characterization, 10% plot and 10% bullets flying. Now, I’m a fan of Melissa George running – she looks good while doing it and there’s no reason any sane person should object. The action is certainly thrilling (at least aesthetically), particularly with two rock-climbing sequences, but by the end is just plain predictable. A Lonely Place to Die just doesn’t have enough on the actual thriller side of it to keep me interested overall. The film has the dubious honor of being one of two films that I waited for the end eagerly.
That being said, the film is highly effective in one area: Alison is quite simply kick-ass. She’s rational, emotional but not overly so, and she has an amazing fight sequence at the end. I waited for it so eagerly, and it delivered. Though I wouldn’t necessarily agree with AfterDark’s billing of A Lonely Place to Die as having such tension as I might rip the arms of my chair off, the climax of the film is entertaining when focused on Melissa George, who is perfectly cast. There’s a sweetness to her, but also a sharp edge which makes her all the more attractive as a character.
Director Julian Gilbey does an impressive job of creating that weird dichotomy that films set in the mountains can often have. In one sense, the Scottish Highlands are epic and large-scale (as some great cinematography shows), but they still feels awfully small with mercenaries chasing down the group. The rock climbing sequences are also impressive, featuring a mix of the cast doing its own stunts (trained by Gilbey himself), and Gilbey doing everything too dangerous. The scale of effort, here, is pretty tremendous. What’s sad about A Lonely Place to Die, then, is that it doesn’t have a script to back an otherwise striking display.
A Lonely Place to Die was paired with the short film The Incident by Jules Saulvier. Baffling but hilarious, I really enjoyed this one – and the crowd did too. It could also, perhaps, serve as a commentary on the representation of apocalyptic trauma. But, more importantly: amusing. See it if you get the chance.