A Lonely Place to Die starts well enough, with a group of mountaineers trekking along the Scottish Highlands and finding a little girl trapped inside a bunker. Upon rescuing her they begin to be pursued and attacked by some mysterious and deadly men. The film works very nicely in building suspense in the first 30 minutes or so, and features some great nail-biting sequences. Director and co-writer Julian Gilbey takes full advantage of the beautiful yet strangely eerie highland locations, resulting in some well executed scenes with the highlight being the group leader, played by Melissa George, attempting to evade falling rocks whilst descending a steep cliff.
Gilbey then seems to lose faith in this approach, and soon the group members begin to be gunned down much more quickly and cheaply. The remaining members, including the little girl of course, manage to find their way to a town. It appears as if Gilbey is doing as much as possible to distance the final half from the start, as not only does he introduce yet more characters and relocate the action to an urban environment, but by chance there’s also a bloody big festival in town as well. Along with this, any suspense or intrigue that was so well constructed is quickly replaced and subsequently lost in favour of bloody gunfights and chases between characters we either don’t care about or have lost interest in.
It’s a shame that Gilbey chooses this tactic as the end result is a film seemingly unsure of whether to remain a suspense-driven thriller or a fully-blown ‘shoot-em-up’ flick. Add to this the continued introduction of uninteresting and unsympathetic characters and throw in a mediocre ‘twist’ with the group’s stalkers early, and it simply seems that Gilbey has tried a little too hard to push everyone’s buttons.
A Lonely Place to Die (2011), directed by Julian Gilbey, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, certificate 15.