A group of five friends are on holiday, hiking and climbing around the remote mountains of Northern Scotland when they chance upon a strange noise. Tracking it down they discover a pipe sticking out of the ground and what appears to be a girl trapped in a box underground. After setting her free they begin their trek to the nearest town to report a kidnapping but are chased every step of the way by the shady men who put the girl in the hole in the first place.
I have a vague recollection of the film’s title and my girlfriend assures me that we wanted to see it so she borrowed it from a friend. I wish she hadn’t bothered. The plot is ok but doesn’t go deep enough and the acting and dialogue seem like they were done by people who understood the concept but had never actually seen it practiced.
The dialogue features several moments which made me laugh out loud due to either its ridiculousness or poor phrasing. The film really could have done with another draft or perhaps utilised someone who could write as a script editor. What doesn’t help is that some of the acting is so stilted and flat that it shows up the poor dialogue even more. The five friends are all terrible in pretty much every scene even though a couple are recognisable faces who have appeared in the likes of 30 Days of Night, Brighton Rock, 24 Hour Party People and Stardust. Other acting credits include the likes of The Bill and Home and Away… Anyway, it’s pretty terrible. Lead actress Melisa George who is Australian has a totally untraceable accept which ranges from English to American to Irish. A few of the other actors were slightly better but I didn’t think anyone gave a particularly good performance.
The cinematography was beautiful at times and features several long tracking shots of the Scottish Highlands. There are also some nice camera angles and good shots of abseiling and mountain climbing. One problem though was that there was a slow motion shot about every two minutes and it was completely unnecessary. Sometimes a slow motion sequence can add to a scene but here it was used just for the hell of it. Maybe the film was running a little short so they wanted to increase the run time at no extra cost? Whatever the reason, it was pointless and there was only one scene (by a river) in which it added anything to the movie.
Even though the dialogue felt like it was produced by getting babies to point at words, the acting was painfully bad and there was enough slow-mo to fill to feed Mega-City One for a week, the worst thing about the film is that is wasn’t scary. I didn’t jump or feel unnerved once and I’m the sort of person that cowers behind cushions during most horror films. The film worked slightly better as a thriller but only because the sight of people running around and shooting at each other is generally exciting. The film isn’t even creepy. Movies such as Wolf Creek make you scared of the area they are set in and but I didn’t ever get that feeling here. I just thought “ooh, Scotland looks pretty”. A further problem is that in the third act the action heads into a small Scottish town which just so happens to have some sort of Cirque d Soleil style parade happening on the High Street, complete with topless dancers and the cast of Cats juggling fire. Come on! During this time a house somehow sets itself on fire and when you get to the ending (WARNING SPOILER ALERT) you realise that four of the friends have died to save a rich little girl who is the daughter of a War Criminal! Fuck him!!
A Lonely Place to Die won Best Film at the Actionfest Film Festival in Asheville, North Carolina and I can only assume that the other films were all three hour long, fuzzy, black and white shots of turds because this is a dreadful, poorly acted, childlike scripted, plop of a film.