In the Tall Grass

Vampire Owl: How tall can the grass around the castle get?

Vampire Bat: They surely can’t be taller than us, because we have to use those fields for daily exercise, sports and other activities.

Vampire Owl: The grass in this movie surely looks scary even for vampires.

Vampire Bat: It is based on Stephen King and his son Joe Hill’s 2012 novella with the same name, and so it had to be scary.

Vampire Owl: I didn’t know that Stephen King’s son was also writing horror stories.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and there are film adaptations based on his works, like The Horns which had Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple in the lead.

Vampire Owl: That is something not well known, I am sure.

Vampire Bat: The television series NOS4A2 is also based on his novel of the same name, and is pronounced Nosferatu.

Vampire Owl: So, he is also a master of horror, only of a later and new generation.

Vampire Bat: Yes, his original name is Joseph Hillstrom King, and his brother Owen Philip King and mother Tabitha King are also authors.

[Gets a ghee roast and three glasses of grape juice].

What is the movie about? :: Becky DeMuth (Laysla De Oliveira) is a young lady, six months pregnant, who seemed to be becoming a mother before he was prepared for it, and due to the same reason, the child’s father Travis McKean (Harrison Gilbertson) is no longer with her, leading her to think about not having this baby or leaving the baby behind after giving birth. Her brother Cal DeMuth (Avery Whitted) is in charge of driving the car all the way to San Diego so that she can live with her aunt there, and with Travis gone, he considers himself to be the protector of his sister and her child. Traveling through an empty road, they stop at an empty space near what seemed to be an abandoned old church. Some other vehicles were also parked nearby, but there was nobody around. It is then that they hear the voice of a child from the field nearby, which has very tall grass, and they also hear the child’s mother calling.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The two gets concerned, and enters the grass field, and begins searching for the mother and child. The sound seems to close, but they are not able to get to the father and child, despite moving quickly towards them. In the process, Becky and Cal are also separated from each other. There is no network connection in the mobile phone, and they are not able to find each other despite being able to hear the voices. In the process, they meet the members of a family who are all trapped in here. The boy whose voice they had heard is Tobin Humboldt (Will Buie Jr) who had entered the grass field chasing his dog, and his father Ross Humboldt (Patrick Wilson) and mother Natalie Humboldt (Rachel Wilson) had also entered the space following him. Now, the family is separated just like the brother and sister. It seems that there is no way out, or is there at least a slight chance?

The defence of In the Tall Grass :: The movie scores the best with its visuals. With the tall grass, and a mysterious rock in the open area which seems to be the middle of the grass field. This open space with the rock is as grand a visual as the tall grass which seems to have no end. There are separate feelings provided during the day and night, and we look back to a past which modernity cannot understand – something which goes to time before American colonization and the earlier tribes settling down, as the modern world looks at its people in confusion. There are those minutes in the beginning which serves the best to bring the terror, as the two siblings jump once to see each other close, and then with the next jump, they are nowhere to be found. The movie is also of a short length, and with only tall grass all around, it is a good thing, bringing no elongation.

The claws of flaw :: The humanization of the grass is rather underused, and the movie doesn’t have even a monster to use when caught in such a strange, supernatural world with creepy grass, a strange rock and darkness – it has a loop, and so much of mystery, but never chooses to reveal them. The background of the characters are not explored much either, and we don’t know why one character is acting different from another. The characters go out of control, as we don’t know who is dead, and who will end up killing someone, and also about who all are real, and belonging to what kind of loop. It is the kind of confusion that comes in the middle, but thankfully, things get solved in the end. But the movie could have used a post-credits scene, because this is the kind of horror film that will make people ask the questions, and they need to answer them.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a collection of unknown actors and actresses trying to escape the tall grass field. Patrick Wilson of The Conjuring, Annabelle and Insidious fame is the only person whom most of us know. The actor who was also there in A-Team, Aquaman and Watchmen continues to be the one who makes the most impact, even though his character is so less developed, even though it was the one which needed the most of such development. Laysla De Oliveira is another actress among all others whom we are seeing for the first time, and she comes with a good performance as the pregnant lady caught in between some tall grass with no hope for escape. Will Buie Jr, the kid shows the hopeless and creepiness of those caught in such a situation very well. Harrison Gilbertson was there in Need for Speed, but we would be noticing here for the first time, and he is fine, and so is Avery Whitted. Rachel Wilson’s role is too small.

How it finishes :: The movie has you in a situation from where there can be no escape. The rules of the world, its physics won’t matter inside this strange field of tall grass, and it is a scary place to explore, and the movie has used this setting well enough to create the needed horror impact. But it has to be noted that there is not much of work done beyond that, and there is also a certain amount of confusion here, as everything is not that clear as far as In the Tall Grass is concerned. There are many things which this premise could have had, but as it is now, the whole thing looks good, and catches your attention – there are some nice visual moments of glory too. In the Tall Grass is surely not the movie which would make horror feel great, but is enough to keep it going, staying strongly within the genre, and using the tall grass to its advantage.

Release date: 4th October 2019
Running time: 101 minutes
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm, William Frater

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.


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