Review: 'The Free Fall' a Letdown

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 14, 2022

'The Free Fall'
'The Free Fall'  (Source:Gravitas Features)

While it's always appreciated when a writer and/or director trying to turn a genre on its head, if the result is less than effective it can be quite a letdown.

This is the case with the latest horror/thriller "The Free Fall," starring Shawn Ashmore as the overbearing husband of a young woman who has recently tried to take her life.

Sara (Andrea Lando) is a seemingly carefree newlywed who stumbles into her family home only to find a tragic act being carried out. Seemingly depressed by what she has witnessed, Sara is found with her wrists slit in the bathtub of her parents' house — now her house.

After being released from the hospital, Sara returns home with barely a memory of the suicide attempt, and only has momentary flashes of that night. What's worse, during her respite, she is constantly having horrific dreams and hallucinations that cause havoc not only to her own psyche, but to her relationship with her overly earnest and placating husband, Nick (Ashmore).

There isn't much more to the film than Sara trying to move on with her life, while everyone around her treats her like an injured poodle. From her sister (Elizabeth Cappuccino), to her new nursemaid Rose (Jane Badler), people don't seem to understand her and treat her poorly.

But what about those dreams? Really, what about them?

Because throughout the 90-minute running time, Sara has consistent nightmares and hallucinations that we, as the audience, are supposed to think are happening (at first), only to have the rug pulled out from under us. (Surprise! It's a dream!) This happens so often that after about ten minutes, you get the trick, and you know that almost nothing that Sara sees or experiences is real.

What does that leave for the audience? Nothing to do until the Act III twist, which reveals all.

While the twist is somewhat interesting (while still feeling like a letdown), if you think too hard, a lot of what came before it doesn't always make sense. But at least it perks you up for a second.

Director Kent Harper telegraphs his hallucinations to the point that not one of them is a surprise anyway, and after 75 minutes of that, it grows wearisome. As played by Londo, Sara is infantilized throughout, which sort of makes sense in the end — but, until you get there, you find her cloying and everyone around her patronizing. Ashmore does his best, but his character is such an obvious creep that he, too, gets tedious.

Ultimately, writer Kent Harper's second feature script attempts to turn a genre staple on its head, but there isn't much to sink your teeth into on the way there.

This "Free Fall" hits several heavy branches along the way, causing it to bump and crash on its way down to earth. It's a matter if you're still conscious when you get there whether you dug the drop or need an Advil.

"The Free Fall" opens in theaters and VOD on January 14th.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.