THE FREE FALL (2021)
Directed by Adam Stilwell
Screened at Grimmfest 2021
After witnessing a traumatic event involving her parents, Sara attempts to take her own life. Recovering after her failed suicide attempt, she awakens in her parents’ home with no memory of what happened nor any recollection of her loved ones. Her husband Nick provides support to help her rest, recover and get back on her feet, but, haunted by nightmares of her suicide attempt and the incident she witnessed, Sara begins to question whether everything is truly what it seems.
Horror thriller THE FREE FALL is one of those movies that doesn’t take long to shock the audience, but after its gruesome opening, the film descends into a slower, snail-like pace which you just want to fast-forward after a while.
Andrea Londo plays the confused Sara brilliantly as she attempts to make sense of the world she’s woke up to. Her doting husband Nick, played by Shawn Ashmore, seems to be keen to keep an eye on her and suggests that Sara’s sister Julie (Elizabeth Cappuccino) is trying to interfere with Sara’s life and take their parents’ house for herself. As a viewer, you get the feeling that secrets are being kept and that things may not be as they seem, especially with an overbearing husband such as Nick who comes across as the doting spouse but seemingly appears to be controlling the situation and information he’s feeding Sara, gaslighting her. Even walking around her own home seems to be restricted, with appointed housekeeper Rose (Jane Badler) saying which rooms are off limits. Sara questions the situation from the get-go but the process from her questioning to doing something about it stretches for almost the entire length of the film…
The movie effectively portrays the house as a prison and Nick as Sara’s keeper throughout the running time of the movie, but I couldn’t help but feel the pace could have been improved as it seems to lull in parts whilst treading familiar ground. The outcome of the film isn’t exactly a surprise either, and I really wish they’d toned the Nick character down a bit so it wasn’t so obvious from the start that he was someone to be suspicious of. The overbearing husband immediately rang alarm bells, and thus sent my mind to question where the plot would eventually lead. If they had gone for subtlety instead and eased into Nick’s character, I think it would have worked better to unnerve the viewer when the characters develop further.
Whilst it has some eye-catching scenes, mainly of a bathtub and a pig’s head, THE FREE FALL lacks enough substance to sink your teeth into and left me disconnected from the story due to a lack of development of the characters. For instance, I would love to have seen more fight or inquisitiveness from the character of Sara. The film also relies upon horror tropes more than I would personally like, with one final scene too blatantly obvious to be enjoyed.
Depending on how much horror movies you’ve watched, you may either be pleasantly surprised by THE FREE FALL or you’ll have seen it all before and be left wanting that bit more.