The Ascent [Black Ops] (2019) – Film Review

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Director: Tom Paton
Cast: Shayne Ward, Sophie Austin, Alana Wallace
Certificate: 15

by @Roger Crow

A special ops squad are sent to infiltrate a civil war to retrieve intel. The unit soon find themselves trapped on a never-ending stairwell forced to climb or die. To survive, they must revisit their past sins if they ever want to escape.

That’s the premise behind this slick, scary and inventive thriller which features Shayne Ward. Yes, that bloke from X Factor and Corrie has beefed up to play a by-the-book military officer who is also the only recognisable face.

The rest of the cast aren’t bad either. There’s some light relief courtesy of a soldier who gets his finger bitten off by a mystery woman, but on the whole, this squad are generic grunts just trying to survive. Most are haunted by their demons, in this case literally.

the ascent film review movie

“Great distraction”

There’s the odd good jump scare, and thanks to blue or red filters, you always know where you are. Blue for the battleground or stairwell and red for imminent attack from a demon on a staircase.

Yes we’ve seen elements of this before. It’s The Raid, Cube and Event Horizon if you like, but writer/director Tom Paton makes the most of his limited budget, especially with a series of different takes on a key battle.

The action scenes are pretty good, and though the finale feels like a bit of a let down, for the most part this is worth a look, even if it’s a bit of a slog to get to the end of the story. Or is it the start?

As a video game it might be more effective. Call of Duty versus Resident Evil if you like. But on a Saturday night where there’s very little on the box, this was a great distraction, even if it was 10 minutes too long.

'The Ascent' debuts on BirdBox.Film on June 12 with simultaneous VR premiere

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