Five friends come together for a climbing adventure in the Croatian Mountains in High Lane. After arriving at their destination, they learn that their planned route has been shut down. Rather than do the sensible thing and turn back – that would make for a very short movie – they throw caution to the wind and attempt to make the climb anyway. Not long after they begin their ascent, the climbers are met with a series of obstacles that range in severity from annoying to life threatening. But little do the thrill-seeking friends know, they have yet to face the worst of the challenges they will be met with before the day’s end.
High Lane is a French language film that – like most foreign language films – should be watched with subtitles, rather than the dubbed version. I bring this up because the film is currently being offered via the Netflix streaming platform. However, the dubbed version is the only option that the content provider has available. Unfortunately, the voiceover work is terrible. So, if you can get your hands on a DVD copy of the film, that is your best option. If not, adjust your expectations accordingly. With that said, High Lane is an exceptional film. It is far better than one might expect from a lesser-known slasher picture. It’s filled with legitimately frightful and intense action from start to finish.
Though High Lane may not have actually been shot in Croatia, the scenery is breathtaking, nonetheless. The mountain range that was used for the wide shots is beautiful. Beyond great scenery, the film also establishes a high level of tension early into the feature. And it never lets up until the end. The footbridge scene is absolutely phenomenal. The editing, sound design, and cinematography all work together brilliantly to make that sequence totally unforgettable.
The film has some really memorable dialogue: Particularly satisfying is the scene where Karine tells Loic (the obnoxious, whiny, entitled brat of the group) that he has been a sniveling prick the whole trip. Aside from that, the characters have meaningful relationships with one another and are far more likable (with the exception of Loic) than the average slasher movie cast. Final girl Chloe is saddled with emotional baggage that makes her more dynamic than the typical horror film character. And that baggage plays an important role in her character arc.
The level of brutality in the film is near perfect. High Lane employs the use of practical makeup effects. The death scenes aren’t excessively violent but they are not toned down, either. There are no throwaway characters that are there just to be killed. As a result, the body count is not staggeringly high but that doesn’t hinder the film in any way.
The only nudity in the film is a frontal shot of one of the male characters but it’s not intended to be sexual or gratuitous. It neither adds to or detracts from the feature; it’s really just there.
High Lane is a high-energy horror/adventure film that combines breathtaking scenery with high-octane thrills and plenty of gore. All of the elements work together to create a thrilling and very entertaining viewing experience. It’s like Cliffhanger meets Wrong Turn in Croatia. High Lane is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen it. It is available on DVD now.
Director(s): Abel Ferry
Writer(s): Johanne Bernard, Louis-Paul Desanges
Stars: Fanny Valette, Nicolas Giraud, Johan Libéreau
Studio/ Production Co: Gaumont, Sombrero Films
Length: 82 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Backwoods Slasher