One of Netflix’s latest horror films, “In the Tall Grass” is a film adaptation of a novel by the prominent author Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. While I’m a huge horror fan and haven’t read the book yet, I’m not sure If I’ll ever get around to it considering how off-putting this film was.
The film’s plot had potential, as I’m sure the novel does. It follows a brother and sister who seem to be traveling and then are halted on the side of the road so the sister, Becky, can throw up due to her pregnancy. She then hears a child pleading for help in the tall grass off the side of the road. Her and her brother, Cal, proceed into the grass.
Typical horror movie fashion, the duo ends up splitting up in the grass, cell service doesn’t work and one person even forgot their phone. What’s interesting is not only can they hear each other's voices through the grass, but they can also hear the boy, Tobin, who lured them in by asking for help.
The grass, as expected, seems to not offer them a way out. It leaves you guessing for a majority of the film what exactly is wrong with the grass, if you will. Is it possessed? Cursed? Is it really just a never-ending maze with no way out or are the people trapped in the grass just actually stupid? I don’t want to give up any spoilers but all I can say is you may not understand what exactly is the answer to that question, directly after the movie ends, at least I didn’t.
There are multiple layers to the film, and the grass, which brings in several other characters. Not only have Cal and Becky entered the grass, but Tobin is in the grass with his dad, mom and dog. The father of Becky’s unborn child also finds himself immersed in the tall grass eventually.
“In the Tall Grass” is full of hallucination tactics, building up the potential with character development, creepy music and changes in both the present and past. While I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes the mystery of the film so… mysterious, because I’m not a fan of spoilers, I wish they could have done a better job with explaining that portion directly. It’s not really explained why they seem to be stuck in the grass until the very end.
The film was simply confusing but it did have a good creep effect. I found myself covering my eyes during some parts but asking a lot of questions at the end. Not downplaying Netflix as some of my favorite shows and movies have come from the streaming service, such as “Dead to Me” and “Stranger Things,” but I think there is a reason this film adaptation didn’t make it to the big screen.
Other films based on King’s book such as “It,” “Pet Sematary” and even older films such as “The Shining” and “Carrie” were definitely favorites among most horror fans. I believe if this film were brought to theatres, it wouldn’t have thrived even one bit in the box office.
While I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend this to someone, I wouldn’t knock it either. I only watched the movie because it came up in the “new” category and I don’t regret watching the film. However, I wouldn't go into with high expectations just because it’s based off a Stephen King novel.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.