A survival movie that’s all vertigo and less brains.

I’m man enough to admit that I’ve learned about the autonomic nervous system from “The Telegraph Line” song from “Schoolhouse Rock.” It’s a process that speeds up your heart rate, if you’re nervous, scared, or aroused, or if you’re exercising. With the new thriller “Fall,” my heart was racing and my palms were sweaty, because of its premise in which two young women climb up a radio tower that’s 2,000 feet in the air, higher than the Eiffel Tower.

But as much as “Fall” was keeping me at the edge of my seat with the special effects of how tall these characters are on the tower, my patience was wearing thin with all the obligatory drama, twists, and cliches, which are probably here to make the film longer than 100 minutes. This isn’t the movie for anyone with or without acrophobia.

The movie opens with a “Cliffhanger” inspired scene as married couple-Becky (Grace Fulton from “Shazam) and Dan (Mason Gooding from the new “Scream”)- and their YouTuber friend Hunter (Virginia Gardener from “Halloween”) are climbing a mountain. Dan gets scarred by some bats, who knock him from his rock hold. He’s swinging for dear life, until the rope breaks off, and he falls to his death.

Less than a year later, Becky is a drunken wreck, whose father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) tries to help her move on with her life. But she doesn’t want his help, considering that he never really liked Dan. He tells her she’s lucky to be alive, although instead of accepting his offer to drive her home, she walks home.

Then, out of the blue, comes Hunter, who suggests they take a 6-hour drive to the really tall radio tower I was describing. This could not only bring the adventure back inside Becky, but also give her friend more followers and likes on YouTube. Even before we get to the tower, we can tell these girls are stupid, especially since they almost get hit by an ongoing truck while filming themselves about their upcoming adventure.

This tower is old and rusty, and yet, it’s red light up top works like a charm. Here’s where these girls get stupider. When they finally make the top, they film each other hanging on the edge with both hands and even one hand. It’s one thing for me to laugh at the mass stupidity of the “Jackass” crew; it’s quite another for these girls to climb a tower this tall and do these stupid tricks for social media fame.

And since the tower is very old, the ladders fall off one by one, and now, the girls are trapped up top with no cell phone service or food.

Here are a few examples of how the film has to be predictable and longer. They fire a flare gun to attract some trailer guys, who decide to seize the opportunity by stealing their car. And another is how they have a drone, which they strap a note to, and drive it towards the nearest restaurant, only for it to be hit by that same ongoing truck. Wow! How did I not see that coming?

The performances are mediocre, the cliches are exhausting, and this is the second year in a row, in which I’ve seen a twist when one of the characters was supposed to be alive, but turns out to be dead. “Sweet Girl” had that kind of twist, and it didn’t work for me. Neither did this movie.

The autonomic system is still grabbing ahold of my nerves as I see how high these women are on the radio tower, but my mind is telling me “127 Hours” is the better rock climbing movie, miles ahead. Or in regards to the height, how about “Vertigo” by Alfred Hitchcock?

Rating: 1.5 out of 4.

Categories: Thriller

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