The Ledge (Thriller) (2022)
Director: Howard J. Ford
Writer: Tom Boyle
Stars: Brittany Ashworth, Anaïs Parello, Ben Lamb, Nathan Welsh
An adventurous climbing trip turns into a matter of life and death as a female climber avoids pursuit by a group of men intent on killing her and destroying camera evidence of killing her friend.
In a social thriller, Howard J. Ford creates shocking circumstances leading a woman's hobby to become her only way of survival. A simple premise, made on a lower budget in a limited release. It's been produced by Evolution Pictures, Head Gear Films, Kreo Films FZ, Trigger Films, Red Production and in association with Metrol Technology while distributed by Saban Films.
After spending an evening around a campfire with a group of male tourists, the trip of Kelly (Brittany Ashworth) and Sophie (Anaïs Parello) takes a gruesome turn as Sophie is murdered after an attempted rape. Waking up, hearing screams, Kelly finds the men standing over Sophie's corpse and films them, leading to a chase up the mountain face fearing for her own life.
Meant to be a daring climb, it transforms into the fight of Kelly's life, as this social thriller presents toxic masculinity and fragile ego's in an unfavourable landscape, skill and wit, hopefully toppling emotion and depravity.
Reflecting its title, "The Ledge" teeters on a fine line between thriller and horror. Stigmas of gender are awfully clear, and this social thriller doesn't move far from its initial intent. The two young female climbers in Ashworth's Kelly and Parello's Sophie are subjected to the insatiable impulses of Lamb's Josh, leading to a perilous climb of survival. As much as the pursuers, the mountain face presents a threat. "The Ledge" almost entirely has to lean on what is effectively a gimmick. The question is whether the flick could survive without it.
Hanging onto an enticing location makes this generic thriller work—Ashworth's acting and overall sound design provide some further momentum despite not always aptly matching. Luckily, it's a fast vertical sprint, making it a halfway satisfactory viewing experience. Some variety would've been incredibly welcome such as Lamb's Josh being challenged; instead, the male cast undoubtfully agrees until it's too late, presenting as immature and overbearingly reprobate.
Providing a suitably tense climb, director Howard J. Ford could've delivered further with the premise, leaning less on the trivial and unnecessary backstory providing writer Tom Boyle could write a narratively more complex script. Fairly solid visuals for the budget cannot surpass a forgettable and incomprehensive thriller.
On the ledge of the bargain bin.