Director: Howard J. Ford
Cast: Brittany Ashworth, Ben Lamb, Louis Boyer, Nathan Welsh, Anaïs Parello, David Wayman
Runtime: 1 hr 27 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Disturbing Scenes and Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 28 April 2022
Synopsis: Having retired to bed early to prepare for a dawn ascent, Kelly (Brittany Ashworth) is woken by the screams of her co-climber Sophie (Anaïs Parello), who had stayed up to enjoy a smoke with a group of men they had met earlier. Desperate to get to her friend, Kelly runs deep into the forest using her camera to guide the way. She arrives just in time to see Sophie’s lifeless body being thrown over a ledge, a horror she captures on camera. Terrified, she turns to escape but the men give chase. Running through the camp she grabs whatever camping gear she can and begins free-climbing in order to escape the pack. As days turn to freezing nights, she finds herself both mentally & physically exhausted. But she must dig deep, do all she can to survive, and climb…
For better and for worse, ‘The Ledge’ is exactly what you would expect out of a B-high-concept movie.
As the premise goes, Kelly (Brittany Ashworth) is on a climbing holiday in the Dolomites with her friend Sophie (Anaïs Parello) when they meet a group of four American guys on their annual get-together. Whilst Sophie is keen to hang out with them, Kelly prefers to hang back at their cabin, given how she is still grieving from the death of her fiancé a year ago.
When Sophie rejects the advances of alpha dick Josh (Ben Lamb), the latter chases her through the nearby woods. After she accidentally falls off a cliff and hits her head on the rock below, Josh convinces the rest of his buddies that the only way out for them is to finish her off and dump her body.
Unfortunately for them, Kelly videos the entire episode, thus triggering a chase that leads her up the vertical face of the mountain. Josh suggests that they try to cut her off at higher ground, such that Kelly finds herself pinned on a ledge 10,000 feet above ground, with Josh and the other guys directly above her on an outer crop.
Over a tight 90 minutes, director Howard J. Ford makes the best out of a thin script. Other than a brief mention of how Josh had defended them against schoolyard bullies when they were kids, there is no explanation why the rest of the guys would simply follow Josh’s bidding; indeed, the only believable one among them is Reynolds (Nathan Welsh), who tries, albeit in vain, to get the other two to see Josh for the narcissistic monster that he really is.
First-time writer Tom Boyle also does our female protagonist Kelly any favours. Besides the occasional flashbacks showing how her fiancé had thought her the ropes of climbing, there is little else to keep us emotionally invested in the character. And while Ashworth looks perfectly athletic for the part, she struggles to make the best out of an underwritten role.
To Ford’s credit, there is rarely a dull moment in the movie. Ford makes good use of the location shooting (in Serbia, standing in for the actual cliffs in Italy) to put us on edge as Kelly scales the vertical. He also stages a number of (literally) cliff-hanging sequences – one such sequence sees Kelly wrestling with one of the guys Nathan (Louis Boyer) who ambush her while she is sleeping in an abandoned tent suspended mid-air by a carabiner attached within a crevice; another sees Josh tussling with Reynolds after the latter confronts him with murdering the rest of their buddies; and then there is the climactic showdown between Kelly and Josh, which ends just how you would expect it to.
So even it never fully realises the potential of its premise, ‘The Ledge’ is reasonably diverting B-movie fare that will probably satisfy those looking for some undemanding thrills. As long as you keep your expectations in check, and not nitpick its obvious shortcomings, you won’t find yourself left dangling by this mediocrely entertaining actioner.
(Straightforward B-movie fare that won't disappoint those looking for undemanding thrills - as long as you keep your expectations in check, you won't be left dangling)
Review by Gabriel Chong