Monday, 4 October 2010



Maybe I'm just seeing too many of them, but increasing numbers of horror/slasher movies are all starting to look the same to me. Certainly the opening sequences of this French exploitation number brought any number of similar pictures to mind - a bunch of attractive people venturing out into the unknown (in this instance mountaineering in the remotest corners of Croatia), and bantering crudely in the car while we get a sense of who's likely to survive and who's inevitably going to be splattered. Mercifully, there is more to the movie than that, and it's more fun than Humains, for example.

In its opening reel, Vertige* picks up steam marvellously with a couple of genuinely gripping sequences straight out of the Cliffhanger school of queasy don't-look-down thrills, as our photogenic heroes cling onto sheer rockfaces and race across the most rickety-looking bridge on Earth before the cables snap. This unfortunately leaves them stuck on the side of a mountain and the ensuing bickering and blame aren't helped by the love rivalry between two of the blokes - one effortlessly smooth but dislikeable and the other patently scared sans de la merde to even be there but isn't going to give up. But, particularly sadly given those two dangling sequences, the movie slows down and becomes Wrong Turn as they find themselves hunted through the woods by a deformed maniac.

Yes, they're not alone. Unfortunately, Vertige ultimately turns into yet another Texas Chainsaw lift, albeit a satisfyingly nasty one, and it doesn't live up to the early promise. It's fun while it's on, especially in its opening half hour, and even the later sequences are pleasingly violent and nasty-edged, (and, by the way, properly lit so we can see what the hell's going on), but in settling for being a perfunctory, professional retread of material we've all seen too many times before, the final result is a sense of opportunities thrown away. Still far better than a lot of stuff out there, but it's a shame.

* And, just a few days after Twilight Saga: Eclipse, this is another one where the title is open to some debate. The box title is High Lane but the on-screen title is Vertige (which is how the BBFC have listed it).


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