In the past few weeks, Hunted has introduced me to the charismatic Melissa George, whose all-action style is reminiscent of the hey-day of Mrs Emma Peel in The Avengers. Her name on the credit list tempted me to watch a movie from 2011, A Lonely Place to Die,even though the film starts off focusing on a group of mountaineers, and I find it hard to exaggerate how unappealing I find the idea of risking one's life climbing mountains (walking up a lot of steps in Kotor was different!). But it's all a matter of personal taste, and I'm glad that my prejudice in favour of Melissa just about outweighed my prejudice against rock-climbing, because this is a truly gripping film, one of the most terrifying I've seen in a long time - and not just because of what happens on those mountains.
The film is shot in the breathtakingly beautiful Scottish Highlands, and we are introduced to five youngish people, including a married couple, who have hired a house in a remote location not too far from Inverness, with a view for indulging their passion for scaling sheer cliff faces. The mood of adventure darkens when one member of the group hears a strange crying when they are in the middle of nowhere. They decide to investigate, and discover a breathing tube set in the earth. They uncover a sealed hole in the ground - inside is a young girl in school uniform. She doesn't speak a word of English, and appears to come from Eastern Europe.
The gang of five then make a terrible decision, deciding to split up as they try to get back to civilisation. Needless to say, this goes badly for them. and before long we encounter a couple of seriously unpleasant guys with guns. But this pair are then accosted by two more chaps, who turn out to be even less likeable. What on earth is going on?
The pace thereafter is pretty relentless, and I thought the script, by Julian Gilbey and Will Gilbey, was consistently effective in delivering action and excitement. There are several vivid and memorable scenes. It's genuinely scary stuff, and yet somehow the narrative -just about - maintains credibility. One piece of advice for anyone who watches it - don't get too attached to many of the characters.