Oftentimes, a thriller relies on the audience’s inability to discern what’s happening to establish its thriller arc, mainly through the employment of twists, creating an aura of suspense and mystery, and so on. This is what adds interest — however, many times, this formula fails to work, as it makes audiences feel restless instead. This is the case for The Free Fall, as the truth of the matter is revealed right at the end, prior to which the narrative exudes pure confusion and bafflement.
However, one cannot deny that there are scenes that alert our senses and captivate our attention. Unfortunately, with this low-budget horror offering, the result is rushed without proper exploration of the core idea. Yet, the momentary involvement does offer some interest.
‘The Free Fall’ Plot Summary
(TW: suicide) Sara, a young woman, is excited to celebrate her parents’ anniversary though things are rough between them. Sara’s sister Julie is more than glad to avoid the evening. To Sara’s misfortune, she reaches home alone only to experience her mother stabbing her father, before slicing her own throat. A few moments later, we see Sara try and take her own life by slicing her wrist in a bathtub. These gruesome series of events sum up the prologue.
Sara wakes up with significant memory loss, but she has the support of her apparent husband, Nick. Naturally, Nick wants Sara to rest and gather her strength over time. However, compared to her, her surroundings are strikingly different. Even the clothes of Sara and her husband, Nick, are white and black, respectively. However, it is odd that Nick does not try and find out why Sara tried to take her own life. Instead, the audience is treated to bits and pieces of the tragedy that form within Sara’s psyche in the form of dreams that seem real.
What’s more strange is that Sara feels connected to Nick but is unable to remember any memory that connects her to him. She also has bizarre interactions with Rose, the maid. Then things start getting visibly weird during the “banquet” scene. What began with Sara plunging a fork into the hand of a guy, ended with her drenched in blood and a pig-headed Nick carrying out a baptism ritual on her. But Sara doesn’t give in and manages to grab the “key” given to her by the friend of her sister and escapes into a dark room with light at the end of it. She manages to reach the light after escaping from the clutches of what seem to be dead souls.
This is when things come to light for us too. We see a bishop, the same person who gave her the key, performing an exorcism on her. And though the bishop separates the demon from Sara’s body, it has now possessed her sister Julie. “Things will be different now” – with these words uttered by Julie, the movie ends.
‘The Free Fall’ Ending Explained
The house is clearly supposed to signify Sara’s mind, wherein she is trapped, thanks to the demons that have possessed her: Nick, the devil, and his acquaintances. Sara is attempting to reclaim her possession in a variety of ways, including people trying to call her and wake her up to reality; a person (the bishop) coming to the front door to give her a key; her seeing the bishop in reflections during the “banquet”; and finally, her hearing the bishop’s voice telling her that whatever she is experiencing isn’t real. The key serves more as a path for her return to the real world, which she has to traverse without anyone’s help.
We do not really understand Rose’s role, whether she is a real person whom Sara knew, whose image the demon is using, or it is simply another demon. That Sara is trying to fight too much is visible when she is trying to cut the roses in the garden. Thus the name “Rose.” However, Nick tells Sara to take a stand for herself, and when she does, Nick is clearly proud. This makes Sara’s bond with Nick stronger, which is basically the demon getting a stronger hold on her. Yet, all this is unknown to her. Perhaps the apparent baptism with blood would be the final step for the demon to take over Sara completely. But Sara manages to grab hold of the “key” and reach out to the “light,” making it possible for the bishop to intervene and pull her out of the demons’ clutches.
Director Adam Stilwell provides the audience with an alternate take on exorcism. It shows what goes on inside the mind of the possessed person and how the demon plays inside it. Until the end of the movie, the line between real and unreal is made to appear vague. The viewers, much like Sara, cannot understand what’s going on. The movie is able to portray that something is definitely not right but is unable to offer an edge. The gore sequences do not offer much and seem like they were borrowed from old-fashioned horror dramas. The twist makes sense, provided your suspension of disbelief does its job. Yet, the film does at the end what most horror movies have been doing for ages, i.e., letting the audience know that it’s not over yet and that too, in the most common way imaginable.
The movie has an apt run-time of 82 minutes. Had it been more, the audience would definitely have been bored, much more so than intrigued. The revelation occurs in the last 15 minutes and might make you want to watch the movie again, something that you would probably reconsider, given how dull it seems. Overall, The Free Fall is a one-time-watch, a tough-to-recommend film that has its own share of the good, bad, and ugly.
The Free Fall is a 2021 Drama Horror film directed by Adam Stilwell.