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Vertige (2009)

  Tags: Abel Ferry, adventure, france, french, high lane, rock climbing, survival, survival horror, vertige

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Abel Ferry
90 minutes
Justin Blanckaert, Nicolas Giraud, Raphaël Lenglet, Johan Libéreau, Fanny Valette

Everyone has their own ways of getting their adrenaline fix. For some it’s just ringing the door bell and running or making a random phone call and hanging up. For more addicted adrenaline junkies, however, they look for more exciting ways to get their high. Thus, we have the setup for this little French horror film Vertige, which translated to English is "High Lane".

So, we follow 5 young friends on vacation to a mountain climbing route, which is closed for unknown reasons. Foolishly, the group decides to ignore the warning and make their own entrance onto the route. It turns out (of course) that the closure was well deserved and it isn't long before cables are popping from their moorings and the suspension bridge that seriously needed a safety inspection has fallen while they were in the mist of crossing. This leaves the group clinging and terrified, with no possible choice but to go onward in hopes of finding another way down. Instead, they run into is bear trips, hidden pits filled with spikes and an unseen attacker launching crossbow bolts from within the trees. Now their vacation has turned into a fight for survival.

French horror has taken off, and for the most part as brought us some great films such as Martyrs, A L'Interieur or Sheitan. However, Vertige will not receive near as much attention as these films. This is a movie that just knows what it is, and puts little effort and fuss into delivering what the audience wants to see. The concept of Vertige has already been done so many times over that the thrill and horror is already to be expected, and leaves little to the imagination.

The characters all tried to bring some trait to the story, but delivered with awful acting and commentaries and flashbacks that took us nowhere. We have Fred and Karine, who are accomplished climbers; Loic and Chloe are a semi new couple who have no business mountain climbing, and then you throw in Guillaume -- Chloe's ex-boyfriend who essentially invited himself along to taunt the far weaker Loic. So, a closed route, a love triangle, and a deranged hill top freak and we can all tell things are not going to end well. The sadistic killer, Anton, is far from inventive and proves to be an extremely unbelievable villain, with little explanation offered beyond the fact that such characters could only exist in a place like Croatia.

The filming location of the French Alps and Pyrenees, is absolutely beautiful; the shots for that set of heights is amazingly done. The fact that the actors did all the rock climbing in the film is a bit impressive. While watching a movie at those heights you can’t help but have some stomach-churning for Loic, who has an paralyzing acrophobia on the side of a mountain. The love triangle between Chloe, Loic and Guil made for some interesting twists. The ending was also very intriguing and left me pondering the events that unfolded.

The movie was nothing original, however was entertaining, and beautiful to look at. The transitions from adventure, to survival thriller, to full on horror went pretty smooth and seamless. The movie had its moments of suspenseful, throbbing anxiety, but was more of a letdown when it came to gore. The death scenes were neither original, shocking, nor humorous. The deranged killer had nothing truly memorable and the cast gave little effort when it came to being believable. Although it lacked in being original, it did however keep me entertained until the very end. Not a film to watch expecting much, just a film to watch on a boring day with nothing else is on.

Posted on December 14, 2009 - 2:33am | daylynn4ever