Tuesday, October 18, 2011

High Lane (2009)

Mountain climbing is not something that's on my "to do" list. The mere idea of it freaks me out. With that out of the way, I'm surprised that there haven't been many horror movies set around the world of this activity. I mean, it involves a large, natural setting in which anything bad can and could happen, so it seems like this and horror would go hand in hand. Anyway, director Abel Ferry's feature length debut "High Lane" tries to mix the two, even though the end result wasn't something I fell in love with.

Five friends-Chloe (Fanny Valette), Loic (Johan Libereau), Guillaume (Raphael Lenglet), Fred (Nicolas Giraud) and Karine (Maud Wyler) decide to go on a mountain climbing expedition-which has been closed due to repairs. Of course, this turns out to be a bad idea, as tensions mount, friendships are tested, and a killer (Justin Blankaert) is on the prowl.

The first half of "High Lanes" is pretty effective. We don't know what or who it is in the woods, and there's some genuinely suspenseful moments-the highlight revolving around a wire bridge. However, once the killer finally makes his appearance, some of the good will goes on the wayside. Up until then, this has been a well directed tale of suspense that relies more on volatile shifts in relationships and the menace of the natural world to build a sense of horror.

Then the killer is revealed, and when this happens, it becomes yet another "people trapped in the woods with a backwoods psychopath" movie. It even has the typical "victims are tied up" scenario that's been done a thousand times. If the movie has stuck with the original "people trapped in nature" style, this would have won me over, but it ends up being a erratically edited and cliche as they come movie. Also, what was with the sudden flashes to the hospital?

There's things to like about this movie, which makes it's shortcomings all the more frustrating. It's a case of a movie looking like it's going to hit the ball out of the park-only to strike out instead.

Rating: 5/10

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