Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Ledge, Directed by Half of the Ford Brothers

What will REI think of this movie? It definitely instills an appreciation for reliable gear, but it might discourage people from outdoor adventuring. Kelly is an experienced mountaineer, whereas her pursuers are not. Unfortunately, they had more time to grab their gear, so it is anybody’s ballgame in Howard J. Ford’s The Ledge, which opens tomorrow in New York.

Kelly has very personal reasons for climbing that Dolomite summit. Her friend Sophie is much less serious, so she is willing to party with the four rich jerks in the cabin next door. Unfortunately, when she starts ripping on psycho alpha Joshua, he responds the way he always does by killing her. He usually gets away with it, thanks to his obedient friends, but this time Kelly manages to video-record the crime. Naturally, all four want her camera and Joshua also wants her dead, so she starts scrambling up the mountain.

She is not exactly free-climbing, but she is closer than she would prefer. The dudes chasing her are using every advantage, but they are far less experienced. Logically, they take the easier trail, to get above her, but snagging her out from under that ledge will be tricky business.

Together with his brother Jonathan, Ford helmed the African zombie film
The Dead and its sequel, but this is much less horror and more thriller-ish, in the tradition of Cliffhanger and Shoot to Kill. Despite the ensemble’s modest celebrity, The Ledge has some pretty impressive mountaineering action sequences. Presumably, H.J. Ford did a lot with a little, because it looks great. Honestly, the scenes on the mountain face are at least as impressive as those in films like North Face and considerably more so than that found in The Climbers.

Frankly, it really stretches credibility watching Brittany Ashworth’s Kelly shivering overnight in a t-shirt, while precariously balanced on a narrow shelf, but so be it. On the other hand, Ben Lamb just revels in creepy villainy as the obnoxious, rage-prone Joshua. Viewers will really, really yearn to see him take the express way down the mountain.

There is nothing remarkable about Tom Boyle’s script, but the execution is brisk and energetic.
The Ledge is not as cool as The Dead, but it does well for what it is. (Whatever you do, do not confuse with the dreadful Ledge movie that released in 2011.) Recommended as a fairly snappy survival thriller, The Ledge opens Friday (2/18) in New York, at the Cinema Village.