Review: A Lonely Place To Die

Audiences love to moan about movies and one of the things they most enjoy being irritated by is people in suspense movies doing stupid things. This British thriller, set in a remote and very picturesque part of Scotland, largely by-passes that objection by making its protagonists mountain climbers.

Having established that they choose to spend their free time risking their lives in the remotest places possible, any ridiculous move they make will be seen as totally in character. For most of the time actually they behave quite sensibly.

When they discover a small girl who doesn't understand English buried in an underground cellar in the middle of nowhere they realise that by freeing her they have put themselves in danger and try to put together an adult, rational plan for getting the girl to the authorities.

The painful thing about this movie is that much of it is really quite good. The best British horror movie of recent years was Neil Marshall's caving chiller The Descent and, at times, Gilbey's film seems like an inversion of that, a realistic and merciless pursuit above ground.

(Warning — film contains less mountain climbing than ad campaign may lead you to believe.)

The set up is grimly plausible, the beautiful scenery is ably photographed and at times it generates considerable levels of tension. But then, just as it's all going well, someone will go and spoil it all with something stupid like overdoing theslow mo, a clumsy line of dialogue or having supposedly experienced mountaineers try to abseil down a slope without nearly enough rope.

The characters often seem to have wondered in from different films. The five climbers are played realistically but around them there are characters that might have wandered in from a typical British macho man lad's film.

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For an hour it holds together as a suspenseful survival chase thriller but in the last half hour – possible spoiler – the film suddenly tires of that and throws it all away in return for a wildly improbable Wicker Man/shoot 'em up hybrid. You notice the shift almost immediately: it's the moment you breathe out again.


Director: Julian Gilbey

Starring: Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Sean Harris, Eamonn Walker, Karel Roden and Kate McGowan.

Length: 98 mins