The Fallout Review

Main+character+of+The+Fallout%2C+Jenna+Ortega.

Main character of The Fallout, Jenna Ortega.

Caitlin Musser, Reporter

 The Fallout directed by Megan Park is a drama that tells the story of a teenager who experienced a school shooting. Lead Actor, Jenna Ortega, plays Vada Cavell. Vada’s story follows the realities of school shootings, teen mental health, and trauma in America. The film’s unspoken theme is about gun control in the United States, and the lifelong damage that students face after they experience gun violence. 

 The movie begins as Vada answers a call from her little sister in the hallway, after a heartfelt conversation between the two, Vada heads to the restroom. Once Vada enters, she sees popular and ‘perfect’ Mia Reed (Maddie Ziegler) making herself up for school pictures. Vada compliments Mia’s natural beauty before they hear a single gunshot. The two lock themselves inside a stall and hurry to get on top of a toilet. While they hide, a slew of gunshots and screams are heard.  

 As Vada and Mia listen to the horrifying sounds, they shake and flinch in terror. After some time, the door bursts open, and they fear the shooter has come for them. The boy who enters declares himself as “not the shooter” and repeats the phrase “my brother, my brother.” In his distraught state, he crawls under a stall into the girls’ one. They see him covered in blood and immediately assume he was shot. His obvious state of shock is visible as the girls try to decipher if he was shot or just covered in blood. 

 This short but impacting scene ends abruptly as sirens sound. Although this is one of the shortest scenes of the movie, it sets in play the movie’s main conflict, Vada’s recovery from the trauma of the event. 

 Her recovery begins the night after the shooting. Her phone rings and it is a message from Mia Reed. They have a light conversation where both girls reveal they feel on edge and scared. The following days after, Mia and Vada hang out with the company of Mia’s absentee parent’s wine. Their conversations are sometimes those of a new friendship, but other times they discuss the nightmares and insomnia they experience.  

 Vada continues to struggle as her long-time best friend Nick (Will Ropp) seems to cope quickly and takes action to talk to gun control organizations and local political leaders. Vada struggles to talk with Nick as she can’t understand how he has turned the horrific situation into a motivator, while she still shakes as she’s forced to go back to school. 

 The movie leaves you thinking about the millions of kids who fear being in Vada’s situation; or worse, the thousands of students who have experienced similar situations. 

 This movie was beautifully written, and the cast did an amazing job portraying teenage roles. Though this movie was sad to watch, it gives insight into the full experience that a survivor of a school shooting experiences. This movie deserves 5 out of 5 shields, because it educates and reveals the full consequences that a school shooting has on an individual. The movie is available on HBO Max and premiered on January 27th of 2022.