Rewind Review: 2011’s ‘A Lonely Place To Die’

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From the moment the film begins, it’s clear that danger is everywhere.  And this isn’t just “danger of injury”, this is “DANGER”, all-caps, with fatal consequences.  We’re on the sheer face of a mountain, thousands of feet above the Scottish Highlands, hanging by threads.  There are falling rocks and treacherous winds to contend with.  The slightest loss of focus or error in judgment can have catastrophic consequences.  We’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend unscathed—and this is BEFORE we factor in the violent poachers, ruthless kidnappers, and heavily armed mercenaries.

A Lonely Place to Die premiered in 2011 at the Actionfest Film Festival in Ashville, North Carolina, where it won “Best Film” and “Best Director” (Julian Gibey)

Read my review after the jump.

Official Synopsis:  A group of five mountaineers are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they discover a young Serbian girl buried in a small chamber in the wilderness. They become caught up in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers as they try to get the girl to safety.

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A Lonely Place to Die is a Horror film in the Survival subgenre (along with films like Deliverance and High Lane).  In such genre offerings, majestic and unsympathetic Nature is often the Number 1 villain.  Out here, cut off from the amenities and safety of society, you find out what you’re really made of.  “Complacency is a killer,” warns protagonist and “final girl” Alison (Melissa George)—but it’s not the only killer these adventurers will face.

When 5 friends pull a young girl from a box buried in the earth, it’s obvious that their weekend and their entire lives have taken a dark turn.  Despite the fact that the girl doesn’t speak English, it’s obvious that someone put her there on purpose and that she is most likely a kidnap victim.  These suspicions are quickly confirmed when the group is stalked by a couple thugs with high-powered rifles.  Friendships and emotions unravel as their numbers diminish.

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A Lonely Place To Die forces viewers to take a hard look inside as if asking, “What would you do?” and, “Would you put your life on the line for a complete stranger?”  Because from the moment the girl is pulled from what could have been her grave, she becomes the group’s responsibility—no matter what.  Some characters openly lament having found her in the first place while others never waiver in their commitment to her safety.

As if pursuit through dangerous woods and mountains by kidnappers isn’t trying enough, the group soon find themselves in a tangle that also includes suspicious local police and a group of hired mercenaries sent by the girls father to secure her return.  When the girl’s identity is revealed, we are faced with a whole new set of ethical dilemmas to consider.

Melissa George excels as the hero who never gives in, no matter how daunting the outlook.

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The cinematography is brilliant and breathtaking, especially the intense rock climbing scenes.  Also visually awesome is the Pagan Festival; while it really has nothing to do with the plot of the film, it’s a gorgeous spectacle of fire and costumes that almost feels like a shout-out to The Wicker Man.

A Lonely Place to Die is really more of an action film that will find fans in and outside of Horror circles.  Anyone with a fear of heights and/or falling will be especially rattled by this movie.  Stick with it through the credits for a glimpse into Alison’s life after the ordeal–proof that she has persevered.

3.5 out of 5 Skull Heads.

Trailer: HERE 

Release Date November 3 2011
Studio IFC Films
Director Julian Gilbey
Writer Julian Gilbey, William Gilbey
Starring Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Sean Harris, Karel Roden
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About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: https://bloodandgutsforgrownups.wordpress.com/ View all posts by Saucy Josh

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