I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to watch A Lonely Place To Die, as I had heard very little about it. To my surprise though, it’s a solid action thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Julian Gilby (Rise of the Footsoldier) does a fantastic job directing this beautifully shot thrill ride. The cinematographer Ali Asad, who also collaborated with Gilby on his two previous films, is also responsible for shooting one of my fav underdogs for 2009, Doghouse (cheezy Brit horror at its best).
A group of five mountaineers are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands where they discover a young Serbian girl buried in a small chamber in the wilderness. Unaware that they are being watched, the group splits up to more effectively cover the distance to get help. With the little girl in tow, three head down the longer, safer path to the village, while the other two take the mountain face for a quicker route. It’s not long until they all become caught up in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the psychotic kidnappers, who’ll stop at nothing to prevent the loss of their payday.
A Lonely Place To Die starts off with a very tense rock climbing scene. Hell, throw anyone on a rope and hang them from a cliff… instant tension. Not being a fan of heights, the whole rock climbing thing already puts me in a state of unrest. The cinematography is amazing, you can really feel the danger. From the dizzying rock faces to the dense forests and open plains, there’s some beautiful scenery in the Scottish highlands. I was particularly taken with the wild parade shots in a small village which contrast with the quiet wilderness of the mountains, dominating three quarters of the film, and upping the tension a few degrees in the film’s climax.
Performances are pretty solid across the board considering I haven’t heard of most of the actors. Melissa George does a great job carrying the film in the leading role, and Sean Harris is equally impressive as one of the kidnappers. Unfortunately, the villains of the story fall into typical roles as the cold hearted, kill anything/do anything to get the job done type characters. It doesn’t necessarily hurt the film, it just releases a small heir of predictability. We’ve seen these villains in countless action/ thriller flics that have come before. The redeeming quality again though, is the performances. Even the young Serbian girl (Holly Boyd) does an incredible job, considering she has virtually no lines. Everything is conveyed through her facial expressions and body language. I’m always blown away by strong child performances.
A Lonely Place To Die should be at the top of your must see list. Unfortunately its one of those films that never reaches its full potential audience and therefor, like so many great films before it, gets lost among so many other unworthy straight to DVD titles. It may not be a solid 10 star flic, but A Lonely Place To Die is a very well made film with a strong cast, excellent script, and solid pacing that will hold your attention to the very end. I absolutely love films like this that pop out from nowhere, and surprise the hell out of me! For me, this is an easy buy on Blu Ray, but for those who don’t buy, it’s easily worth checking out one way or another. I highly recommend A Lonely Place To Die!