I’ve been a collector for as long as I can remember. I’ve collected everything from action figures to CDs, from comic books to DVDs and Blu-rays. There are a couple of issues that a collector might run into during their illustrious lifespan. One of them is clearly running out of space for all of their belongings and another, more specific to movie collectors I’d assume, is that we have tons of films sitting on our shelves that have never been watched before. I constantly look through the various piles of films that I have accrued over the years and I still find myself saying, “I don’t have anything to watch.” Well, yesterday I finally decided to just pick a random movie from my collection that I’ve never seen before and it happened to be a gem that was hiding in plain sight all along. That film is Abel Ferry’s High Lane.
A group of friends plan an adventurous trip into the Croatian mountains, even though the trails have been closed to climbers for some much-needed repairs. Undeterred, the group heads up the rocky maze anyway. After a couple of close encounters with some faulty gear and old, rusted out climbing structures, the group find themselves facing something much more sinister, as they are picked off one by one by a psychotic poacher.
High Lane is a great movie for many reasons. First of all, it is absolutely gorgeous. The establishing shots of the mountain ranges and clear skies surrounding them are breathtaking. I must commend the camera work of cinematographer Nicolas Massart because everything looks fantastic. Even as the film takes a turn from man versus nature to man versus man, the cinematography remains a constant plus.
In addition to its aesthetics, High Lane has a lot to offer to horror fans; The writing is brilliant and the acting is superior to most films with comparable caliber. Like any great film, there is more than meets the eye with this backwoods slasher flick. There are multiple sub-plots to help develop the characters and bring more to the table than just explicit violence. But oh, there is plenty of that, as well. Every bloody detail in Ferry’s film is delivered with practical effects, making the film rank even higher on the gore scale than it already would have scored. Legs caught in bear traps, limbs impaled by spikes, and slit throats all look flawless throughout the entire second half of the movie.
The entire cast does an outstanding job portraying their respective characters for High Lane‘s allotted 82 minute run-time. They all feed off of each other, creating a special dynamic on screen that is hard to ignore. It also made for some great drama, seeing the jealousy between Johan Libéreau’s character, Loic, and Raphaël Lenglet’s Guillaume as they fight for the attention of the same beautiful girl, Chloe, played by Fanny Valette. The ‘rivalry’ between the two also plays a huge part in the characters’ demise, adding more great spins into an already impressive script.
After the reveal of who is actually terrorizing the youngsters, the movie gets even more exciting. High Lane is action packed and suspenseful, taking the viewer on a ride with multiple levels of exhilaration. If you’re looking for a slasher flick that has more to it than just your normal 80’s throwback, which seems to be plaguing the sub-genre these days, definitely take a look at 2009’s High Lane. You will most certainly not be disappointed in this French horror masterpiece!
I give this one 5 missing persons out of 5.