30 December 2011 | Fitzbob
Nerve rattling Suspense.......for most part
A Lonely Place to Die is the fourth feature from British Director Julian Gilbey. His last film was the acclaimed Rise of the Footsoldier way back in 2007. This film marks a very different change of pace for the director and what he delivers here is a striped back bare bones Horror survival thriller. For the most part ALPTD works. Its 1hr and 40 min running time rattles along at a fairly lively pace. It's the films third act coupled with its confused tone that eventually drags it down.
Mellissa George plays one of a group of five friends that go climbing in the Scottish highlands. Early on they discover a small girl buried in a box underground. They decide to free the girl and go for help. Little do they realize that the Kidnappers are in hot pursuit! ALPTD opens with a nerve rattling climbing sequence, from here it builds pretty effortlessly with a number of nail biting senses has a game of cat and mouse is played out in the Scottish wilderness. Little is actually learned about the cast but the film moves at such a pace that this isn't really an issue. Deaths come almost from nowhere and this is one of the films strengths. The fact that is fair game on any of the cast members really adds to the suspense. Mellissa George is the only real stand out from the cast and she is excellent here making the most of here thinly conceived character. She is easily able to portray both venerable and tough and this up there with Triangle has her best performance. The cinematography is amazing with shots of the mountains and scenery really adding to the isolation of their surroundings. Some of the hand-held style camera work adopted during the chase sequences adds an extra bit of flare which really lifts them above the average.
It's a shame that the film was not able to maintain the tension and suspense throughout its whole running time. The third acts arrives has the setting shifts to a local town during a Wicker man style festival. The departure from the wilderness sees the pacing almost ground to a complete halt. The direction of the film also changes. Before this there the film had more of a horror feel to it. The change in setting and the introduction of several new characters moves the film very much into the ransom thriller area. This change in tone is to serve and makes the film feel almost like two separate films in one. The third acts slow down also exposes the problems with the script. Poorly written characters being chased through the woods in a horror film is one thing, being asked to care about poorly written characters during a hostage thriller is a different story altogether. Without anyone to care about a feeling of indifference takes over. Has it stands A Lonely Place to Die is a fairly entertaining if standard film that is worth a watch. There are elements there that could have made it a lot more memorable.