A Lonely Place to Die

Latest effort from Blighty's Julian Gilbey adds intrigue to scares when five people stumble into a mysterious child-abduction plot.

With: Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Sean Harris, Kate Magowan, Alec Newman, Stephen McCole, Garry Sweeney, Karel Roden, Eamonn Walker, Holly Boyd, Paul Anderson.

Five mountaineers in the remote Scottish highlands encounter peril from more than just the treacherous slopes in efficient genre pic “A Lonely Place to Die.” Latest effort from Blighty’s Julian Gilbey (“Rise of the Footsoldier”) adds intrigue to scares when five people stumble into a mysterious child-abduction plot. Given its lack of marquee names and internet buzz, the pic will need major marketing heft to lure auds when it assaults U.K. plexes in September, ahead of a November U.S. rollout. Terrain should prove less forbidding when the time comes for homevid exploitation.

A prologue establishes widescreen cinematic scale as seasoned mountaineers Alison (Melissa George) and Rob (Alec Newman) are entangled in a potentially fatal mishap caused by ill-attentive rookie Ed (Eragon’s Ed Speleers) on a sheer rock face. Meeting up with fellow climbers Jenny (Kate Magowan) and Alex (Garry Sweeney), they begin their expedition in earnest the next day. But their plans are interrupted when they hear faint cries, and discover young East European girl Anna (Holly Boyd) in a wooden chamber just below the ground’s surface. Speaking not a word of English, the scared child can’t communicate how she got there.

Alison and Rob elect to take a vertiginous shortcut to get help from the nearest settlement, while the rest look after Anna. But both parties soon become targets for a pair of snipers (Sean Harris, Stephen McCole) who evidently need the kid alive, and don’t care who they kill to retrieve her. The action climaxes in a local community that’s enjoying its annual pagan celebration. Anna, the surviving rescuers and the two ruthless assailants are joined by a fresh trio (Eamonn Walker, Karel Roden, Paul Anderson), there on a mission to secure the release of the child by any means necessary.

Exclusively shot in the Scottish highlands (except for a single underwater sequence), “A Lonely Place to Die” gets plenty of bang for its buck from its awesome mountain locations. Impressive stunt work coordinated by Jamie Edgell is another obvious plus. The cast struggles to put a stamp on generic roles, although Harris (“Harry Brown”) makes for a memorable villain, elevating the dialogue in a pivotal scene with Roden where everyone’s motivations are laid bare. The pagan ceremony adds eye candy to the action finale, and conveniently provides fireworks as cover for gunfire, but the large-scale and fanciful costuming owe more to the aspirations of the production team than to plausibility.

Popular on Variety

A Lonely Place to Die


Production: A Kaleidoscope Entertainment release of a Carnaby Intl. Films presentation in association with Eigerwand Media and Molinare London. (International sales: Genesis Film Sales, London.) Produced by Michael Loveday. Executive producers, Terry Loveday, Mark Foligno, Toby Richards. Co-producers, Andy Loveday, Richards, Julian Gilbey. Directed by Julian Gilbey. Screenplay, Julian Gilbey, William Gilbey.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen) Ali Asad; editors, Julian Gilbey, William Gilbey; music, Michael Richard Plowman; music supervisor, Alison Wright; production designer, Matthew Button; art director, Daniela Faggio; set decorator, Cathy Featherstone; costume designer, Hayley Nebauer; sound (Dolby Digital), Keith Silva; re-recording mixer, Scott Jones; special effects, armory supervisor, Scott MacIntyre; visual effects supervisor, Paul Norris; stunt coordinator, Jamie Edgell; line producer Gerry Toomey; assistant director, Scott Bates; second unit director, William Gilbey; casting, Steve Daly. Reviewed on DVD, London, Sept. 3, 2011. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: With: Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Sean Harris, Kate Magowan, Alec Newman, Stephen McCole, Garry Sweeney, Karel Roden, Eamonn Walker, Holly Boyd, Paul Anderson.

More Film

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content