FilmQuest Review: ‘The Free Fall’ is an Unforgettable Psychological Horror Experience
The Free Fall is one of the most complicated movies I’ve had to review. Because it’s such a tightly woven tapestry, pulling any thread might unravel too much, and give away some of its most compelling plot points.
The movie follows Sara, who wakes from a coma to a life she does not remember. As she tries to piece together the events that led to her coma and this life that she has no recollection of, reality grows murkier until she is not sure what is real and what is not.
Sara, played by Andrea Londo, is not the only one that is unsure what the hell is going on. The script does a great job of keeping viewers in the dark as it gives us the smallest pieces of the truth and warns us that we should take it with a grain of salt. I had a hard time trusting any of the characters, and because the protagonist is unreliable, due to her supposed memory loss, the only option was to buckle up and go along for the ride. This movie is best described as that feeling in your stomach when you are in the middle of a rollercoaster that you are not metal enough for and realize you have made a terrible mistake but know that it is too damn late to turn back. On one level, you know it is going to be OK. On another level, you are losing your shit because you thought it would be one thing, but it is something completely different than what you were braced for.
The Free Fall is equal parts haunting, disturbing, and beautiful. We quickly realize that something is not right when Sara wakes up and that whatever it is, feels like a bigger bad than the cute little house with the cute little husband, Nick, played by Shawn Ashmore, lets on. Our two leads are giving pretty fantastic performances in this cute, but off-putting home. The home feels claustrophobic and askew even before the first scene of violence early on in the film. This sense of dread only intensified as we spend time in it with Sara, as she tries to find her bearings and find out what is real. The second Sara wakes up from her coma, the movie feels like a very sinister Alice in Wonderland situation but with people who Sara supposedly knows. This whole mood is elevated with gorgeous camera angles, beautiful transitions, and a clear mission to get every production team member on the same page to bring this waking nightmare to life. When Sara finally starts to put the pieces together, toward the end, there is a moment so gorgeous that it looks like a living painting.
Another thing this film does is shift the perspective of how a monster, or bad guy, behaves. The villains in this movie use subtle tactics to get to Sara. They rely on her confusion to gain her trust and make her doubt herself. I am excited about the pieces we all can write once more people have seen this movie, and we no longer have to dance around the bigger themes at play here. Not one second of this movie is what it seems and is perfect for the movie-goer who has been looking for a chaotic film to help them get out of a rut.
The Free Fall is easily one of my favorite movies of the year. This movie has lived rent-free in my head since the credits rolled. I keep thinking about nods to other horror movies, the bits of foreshadowing that could only give glimpses of the much larger picture awaiting us when things turn toward the end. This film is art. I cannot wait to see it again and watch other people take this journey for the first time.
The Free Fall had its regional premiere at FilmQuest 2021.
People who like psychological horror and unreliable protagonists should absolutely seek out The Free Fall. Be warned, though: It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is going on until it’s almost too late.