A Lonely Place To Die (2011)

Deep in the Scottish Highlands, five hikers have decended on a small cabin miles from Inverness for a weekend of pasta-poker and fish sandwiches. Opting to take it relatively easy on the first day due to adverse weather conditions, they leave most of their heavy-duty equipment behind and head off for a mountain-top stroll. When that chap from Eragon (Ed Speelers) hears some eerie noises, however, he ushers his friends (including genre stalwart Melissa George) into earshot, ultimately unearthing a young Serbian girl held captive underground. Having unsuspectingly stumbled into a temperamental hostage situation, the friends must band together if they are to save the girl, escape the kidnappers and make it back to civilisation alive.

So far so surprisingly gripping; as the plot kicks into gear A Lonely Place To Die really comes into its own as director Julian Gilbey crafts a taut and intriguing thriller around George’s dependable lead, Alison. Opening with some truly breathtaking shots of the rugged Scottish landscape, there are unfortunately early signs of trouble as Gilbey gets sporadically sidetracked with a particularly striking image  and…look at the pretty bird.

Before his thrills have actually thrilled, however, Gilbey is already undermining his tense opening and simplistic premise with an array of needless sub-plots and peripheral characters which ultimately detract from the immediate danger in which our heroes have found themselves. Two deer poachers are quickly disposed of to little effect; the girl’s captors suffer from Stormtrooper’s aim, missing the sound of footsteps as often as they do their fleeing targets; Karel Roden pops up in a role that defies purpose; and a group of supposedly special agents (not Idris Elba apparently, though you could have fooled me) and an ambiguous mafioso ensure that new characters are still popping up even in the film’s dying minutes.

As such, the film starts out as a mountain-top Descent (or is it Ascent?). However, it quickly squanders it’s simmering tension in an attempt to broach just about every genre going before the credits roll. The film simply falls about as the bullets start to fly; a nameless muddle of characters are mowed down as George and her fellow survivors are unceremoniously lost in the gunfire. As our rapidly diminishing survivors make it back to civilization only to find themselves hindered by some sort of clichéd conspiracy – as they race from one locked door to another, chased hilariously by a bloke in a pig mask (because this is Scotland, we have pagan parades every other Tuesday) – the plot has become so laughably inconsequential that even George’s inherent guile isn’t enough to drag this mess across the finishing line.

A fun and engagingly simple premise that quickly becomes bogged down in subplot and supporting characters, A Lonely Place To Die is ironically overcrowded. Worth a look if only for the gorgeous cinematography (seriously, why wasn’t this in 3D like Sanctum?) and exhilarating opening act, there is nevertheless precious little to keep you engaged beyond the half-hour mark.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to A Lonely Place To Die (2011)

  1. Pingback: September 2011 – What, there are no good sharks? « popcornaddict

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