A Lonely Place to Die is a survival/horror/thriller/gangster/action film about a bunch of hikers in the woods. That’s an awful lot of genres to tag onto one film, but A Lonely Place to Die does indeed swing wildly through all of them.
The hikers in question are a group of five who are in training to climb the north face of the Eiger, one of the most dangerous climbs in the world. Their training in Scotland goes quite well on the first day, despite some awkwardly scripted attempts at banter in the group.
On day two however, one of the group hears a wonderfully haunting voice in the wood - the sort of sound which chills your bones and makes you wonder if Hideo Nakata directed. The group investigate the sound and find a little Croatian girl buried alive. The hikers then split up, one group taking the quickest route to help, the other group taking the safest route to get the girl out of the woods.
The villains appear at this point, displaying a startling lack of proficiency with their superior equipment. Fortunately, anytime something goes wrong for the hikers, they get over it quite quickly, no matter how serious the incident. There is neither lasting emotional drain nor a really powerful emotional reaction to any of the events.
There is an attempt to mask this by whipping things along at an exciting and breakneck pace, and it whips the film into an entirely new tone as the action moves from the wilderness to a small village with a Scottish name. Most likely the English translation of the town’s name is 'Plot Holes', as these seem to be its main residents.
Eventually the main plot comes to a close, but still many holes are left unfilled. There is a very good script in here - some of the dialogue could use a polish - but what A Lonely Place to Die really needs is a strong auteur director, Soderbergh perhaps, to fully explore just one of the many genres contained within.