The Ledge is a straightforward thriller with a small cast that is meant to be filled with perilous mountain-climbing, nail-bitting tension and dangerous threats, not to mention falls from very great heights.
The movie does try to provide all that, but unfortunately it gets to those scenes with such stupid characters, outlandish contrivances and unimaginable decisions it’s very hard to get invested when hands grip rock and characters try to survive. Plus, the thrilling aspects to The Ledge aren’t done too well anyway and it’s worth the time to having sat to get to them.
We meet gal pals Kelly and Sophie (Brittany Ashworth and Anais Parello) who gearing up for an expert climb up the face of the Doleomit Mountains in Italy. They meet a foursome of frat climbers who aren’t in the league of their climbing skills. Leader of this frat gang Josh (Ben Lamb) is the troublesome, arrogant and violent of the bunch. He subsequently attacks Sophie, she falls and not wanting to risk his future and have to explain himself, pulls his buddies into killing her. Now it just looks like she died in a climbing accident.
But wait a second! Kelly happened to film these four murdering her friend. Needing the evidence of their crime they chase her and the only place she can go is straight up the mountain side. She manages to stay out of their reach, only to be trapped under a ledge at the peak of this mountain.
The guys can’t get to her, but she has nowhere else to go. She can’t climb up and she can’t climb down. Josh is adamant that he get her camera with the murder footage on it at any costs and doesn’t care who stands in his way.
The Ledge is a very silly film. The story and situation is ludicrous enough, but it’s the characters that are so one-dimensional and so very dumb that makes it really such a head-shaking movie to watch. Josh is completely unhinged, yet his friends blindly follow his lead, even when he pressures them to do more and more heinous criminal activity.
There’s very little nuance to any of this group of guys. The one is nuts,(you can plainly see it probably even at sea level!) the others follow him like an obedient line of ducks. It’s as if they expected to go on vacation with a murderous psychopath and they dutifully listen and climb after this poor girl up a mountain, trap her and then figure out a way to kill her. Common sense they must of left back at home.
They do have a gradual realization maybe what they’re doing is wrong and it’s not worth protecting their buddy – a guy we learn they don’t like all that much anyway – but it takes them the bulk of the movie to do anything about it. So they just go blindly along with whatever their crazy bro says.
There’s little to work with having your main character trapped on the side of a mountain and the film doesn’t come up with any creative obstacles or solutions that Kelly encounters. So the film comes up with some very strange scenarios. Like Kelly managing to pitch a tent hanging over the cliffside to sleep in. There’s also a snake crawling around, which kind of is a surprise. But…..ok!
So, the movie just becomes Kelly sitting on the side of this big rock, while the guys wait for her just overhead. And one of those guys is off his nut ready to kill to protect his livelihood. Can you guess where things go?
The performances are nothing really to speak of. Lamb is unintentionally the funniest, as he dials up his evilness to an absurd degree. They should have given him a greasy long black mustache so he could twirl. Seriously, we’ve seen flat out psycho killers in movies give a more subtle performance.
Ashworth doesn’t have much to do other than grip the mountain. She is quite a forgettable heroine and nothing stands out about her. She gets inspiration from memories from her dead boyfriend who taught her to climb. It’s very hokey. “Don’t use your muscles, use your mind”. She uses sage advice like that as she desperately tries to get away from these bad guys.
At a certain point, the movie has nowhere else to go but just over-the-top absurdity. I’m not a climber, but I don’t think climbing enthusiasts will gravitate towards anything in this flick either. There’s some kills of some very dense characters who should know better.
Some of the location shots look beautiful, but I imagine that was stock footage the filmmakers purchased to set the stage. When the actors get on the screen the climbing effects aren’t impressive. Much of the time none of them are the least bit convincing and it looks more like like they’re filming in an indoor rock climbing gym you’d visit on a weekend. When darkness falls for Kelly you might think it would help hide the dodgy green screen effects, but it ends up making the movie look even cheaper.
Clocking in at under 90 minutes, The Ledge could have been a fun little tight survival film had it been handled better. It only ends up being a subpar thriller filled with clichéd silly dialogue, unbelievably paper thin characters and a climax that is as underwhelming as the movie earned.
It’s not a ‘so bad it’s good’ type of movie, but more like it’s just straight ‘bad’.