Scenario 1: Lady A is late to the movie theater. Parking is impossible to find, and the concession-stand line is endless. As a result, Lady A misses the first half of High Lane.
Scenario 2: Gentleman B watches the first half of High Lane, but receives an emergency call from his cousin Bertie, who urgently needs bail money. Gentleman B departs the theater, and misses the second half of High Lane.
The following day, you bump into Lady A and Gentleman B, and ask both what they thought of the film. “A crackerjack adventure with gorgeous scenery,” Gentleman B tells you, adding, “I highly recommend it.” “It was horrid, cliché-ridden, slasher dreck,” says Lady A. “By all means, avoid it,” she adds. Who is giving you the best advice – Lady A or Gentleman B? Answer: both of them.
The first half of director Abel Ferry’s … well, “horror/adventure,” sports some of the best, tensest mountain-climbing scenes this side of Cliffhanger. The mountain views (allegedly of the Balkans but reportedly shot in France) are breathtaking. Ferry’s depiction of these nerve-wracking crags and crevices and their effect on one character’s vertigo is dizzying, indeed.
But for some unfathomable reason, at the 45-minute-mark the film makes a Wrong Turn and steers away from nail-biting action to tiresome, seen-it-all-before horror. I suppose the idea must have looked good on paper: Deliverance Meets Leatherface.
Our heroes, a group of five young and attractive (naturally) climbers, suddenly find themselves stalked and cocked by a sort of Croatian Keith Richards, an unwashed hillbilly who, in the grand tradition of all bogeymen, has no trouble snaring young people who sprint full-speed while he simply plods after them. Everything you expect to see is included: A young woman miraculously displays martial arts skills; people go places they shouldn’t, and do things they oughtn’t – all in the service of a plot gone spectacularly wrong. Grade: C
Director: Abel Ferry Cast: Fanny Valette, Johan Libereau, Raphael Lenglet, Nicolas Giraud, Maud Wyler, Justin Blanckaert Release: 2009
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