A Lonely Place to Die Review

There comes a film every now and then that simply blows me away. It doesn’t happen often and I didn’t think A Lonely Place to Die would be amongst the few. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A Lonely Place to Die is intense, smart and mesmerising.

Even though it closed Frightfest in August, it is not a horror film but a survival thriller. Set in the Scottish Highlands, it tells the story of a group of climbers who stumble upon a child buried in a small chamber with only a small air pipe and a bottle of water. Deciding to take her to safety the group begin a dangerous descent, all the while being hunted by the girls kidnappers who want their hostage back. If I told you any more than that I’d be giving too much away.

The first thing that struck me about A Lonely Place to Die was how stunning the locations were. The credits alone were spectacular with sweeping aerial shots of the highlands inter cut with shots of a golden eagle. These do a perfect job of showing how beautiful, yet dangerous, this place is. It also works better than scripting the actors to admire the location through dialogue which a number of survival and wilderness films seem to do.

The next was the plot and how simple it was. The story is basic and not bogged down with needless character back story or trying to make a mountain about a character’s tortured past. There’s a play on what’s expected and scenes are shaped to make you expect what’ll happen next, only to change it at the last second.

On the whole, the characters are simple and likeable, each reacting in their own way to the situation. Melissa George is excellent as leading lady Alison, she’s cold and distant . The two kidnappers, played by Sean Harris and Stephen McCole, are excellent and terrifying. Their introduction is done with intricate care and precision, a brilliant introduction that threw me when I first watched it. Sean Harris deserves a specific mention for once again playing a suitably intense and terrifying bad guy. His character is one of the few to have a detailed back story but it has a purpose, and that is to make you realise he is not to be messed with. A special mention for Holly Boyd who plays the little girl, Anna. It is an amazing debut and she steals the show as the young hostage.

A Lonely Place to Die is excellent, it is one of my favourite films of 2011. It was a surprising and enjoyable thriller with a great cast and amazing direction and writing. A great film for repeat viewing, if only to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Michael Wharton

Share this!