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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Review: A Lonely Place to Die
Review: A Lonely Place to Die Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Monday, 05 September 2011 06:32
Director: Julian Gilbey
Cast: Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Sean Harris, Holly Boyd
Certificate: TBC

There's nowt like hanging upside down off a cliff to ruin your holiday. And that's exactly how A Lonely Place to Die opens, throwing its cast off the side of a mountain with only a rope and a handheld camera. It's a superb vertiginous flourish at the start of a taut thriller that warns us of two things: 1. Julian Gilbey knows how to make your tummy go wobbles, and 2. Mountains are bad.

Not that you need to be told that if you've seen any other rock-climbing films. Cliffhanger, Vertical Limit, 127 Hours - clambering around on rocks is clearly just asking for trouble. Especially if you're in Scotland (nice work, tourist board). And even more so when you come across a hole in the ground with a little girl buried inside. 

Her name's Anna (Boyd), and she's been stored there for safekeeping by a couple of gun-toting kidnappers. And so Gilbey's climbers, led by the heroic Alison (George) and obnoxious Ed (Speleers), sprint across the Scottish Highlands trying to save ickle Anna while nasty men take pot shots at them with rifles. It's a simple set up, and one that soon runs out of places to go, but it's a tense rush that knows how to pace itself.

The location helps a lot, as deserted cliff-tops and crowded forests allow for a variety of set pieces - one tense sequence sees Alison scaling down a 300m drop without a harness. Balancing the kinetic camerawork with steady editing, the dizzying stunts are easy to follow and offer an immediate edge in the face of other CGI-heavy horror flicks.

Boyd's terrified young girl give things an emotional anchor, but sadly the adults don't quite follow suit. George and Speleers stand out, as does the villainous Sean Harris, but some aren't developed beyond basic bullet-fodder - and at times, it's hard to believe that they dodge said bullets for so long.

An explosive, macabre climax in a nearby village keeps things suspenseful, and Gilbey pulls off some excellent narrative feints, but A Lonely Place to Die doesn't quite hang together enough to make for a spelunking classic like The Descent. Not that you'll have time to think about that - you'll be too busy running to keep up with the action. The assured direction and breakneck pacing make A Lonely Place to Die an exciting place to sit for 98 minutes.


Ignore the rocky script and A Lonely Place to Die is a cracking bit of boulder-dash.



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Head this way to read our original FrightFest review of A Lonely Place to Die.


  • a lonely place to die
  • ed speleers
  • holly boyd
  • julian gilbey
  • melissa george
  • sean harris