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High Lane



And the result is "High Lane." Despite my mocking references, I actually kinda liked it, in a "well, that was a pretty painless 80 minutes" manner.

Abel Ferry's thriller has much in common in Australia's "Primal," also recently released by IFC Midnight, in that both concern a small group of young people venturing outside their comfort zone and into nature, where a resident of the wild doesn't like them being there, and shows it via not unkind words but the unkindest cuts.

The difference is that "High Lane" is the noticeably better of the two, and throws in a solid first act of high-stakes climbing that's not for the vertiginous. (And I don't know about you, but the last thing I'd do right before such a potentially fatal activity would be to get high, as these guys and gals do.)

Once they cross — barely — a treacherous rope bridge over a killer Croatian canyon, they find that the route they are taking is blocked, and they must reach the passage before dark. Then one of the guys steps in a bear trap — yeow! — and the day is pretty much ruined. Way to go, Fred Astaire.

The flick is like "Cliffhanger," but only if you replace John Lithgow with a guy who has no dental record. It's also similar to "The Descent," albeit going in the other direction. Once the remaining characters find themselves in the pit of the villainous Anton — Anton?! — notice how the score suspiciously apes the "Jaws" theme.

"High Lane" isn't anywhere near that level of suspense, mind you, but there are enough close calls from high altitudes to provoke a healthy dose of mild anxiety. When you’re watching from the safety of your couch, that can make for a decent enough rental. —Rod Lott

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