How Does the New Horror Movie Hold Up?
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In the Tall Grass is a horror/thriller Netflix Original movie, which came out on October 4, 2019. As the release date suggests, this film was part of Netflix’s Halloween lineup for this year. Just a couple weeks into November, my family and I sat down to watch this movie together. After the credits rolled, we had many thoughts about it. These varied from positive points to confused ponderings. In my opinion, In the Tall Grass is a movie with an interesting story and high production value, that just falls a bit short in execution.
Before I get into my review of this film, I’d like to divulge a bit more about it. The movie is rated TV-MA, and clocks in at 1 hour, 41 minutes. Additionally, it’s made up of a quite good cast; this features Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Insidious), Laysla De Oliveira (The Gifted, iZombie), and Avery Whitted (The Vanishing of Sidney Hall).
Furthermore, the film’s story is based on a novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill (one of King’s sons). For years, King has dominated the horror industry of the writing world. Likewise, Joe Hill has penned several popular horror titles, including Horns and Heart-Shaped Box. Clearly, there’s a lot of talent and promise behind this movie.
In the Tall Grass centers around a sibling duo, Becky (Oliveira) and Cal (Whitted), as they continue on a road trip. However, their pleasant drive is cut short when they stop by a desolate field and hear a young boy’s cries for help. The siblings enter the tall grass to rescue the child, only to become trapped within it. Soon, Becky and Cal discover that a malevolent force lurks in the field; they must struggle to escape it in an ever-changing nightmare scape.
In the Tall Grass does many things well, resulting in a quality, worthwhile film. One positive aspect is the movie’s story. I found the story to be really interesting, and it truly kept me engrossed until the very end.
In addition, the story can be fairly ambiguous at times. Not all people like this sort of tale, but personally, I enjoy it when movies leave a little to interpretation. This film expects viewers to think and consider what actually happened throughout its course. I appreciate that the movie encourages this higher thinking.
Although In the Tall Grass isn’t particularly scary as is, I think the story behind it is quite frightening. Pondering what really happened is easily what inspires the most fear and dread. Undoubtedly, this is another reason I like how this film is presented.
Yet another positive point of In the Tall Grass, is its characters. Overall, the characters are at least decent. They all have their own strong points and flaws, much like actual humans do. These characters aren’t perfect, they’re merely human. And at the end of the day, they are just trying to survive a horrific situation.
Moreover, I really like that all of these traits aren’t revealed right away. It takes time for some of these characters to reveal their true colors. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I thought the progression of Cal’s character was especially interesting. At the movie’s start, he seems like a kind, understanding brother to Becky. However, there’s more to him than that, and not all of it is good.
Personally, I believe the acting is quite good, especially on Oliveira’s part. She does a great job of portraying Becky, a pregnant woman desperate to escape and survive. I felt that Oliveira truly embraced this role, and it shows in the movie’s quality.
Honestly, I was a little surprised by the variety of settings in this. Considering the name and beginning of In the Tall Grass, I thought it would all take place in said field. However, I’m happy to say that isn’t the case. A decent portion of it does unfold in the tall grass, but a few other locations are explored as well. Among these, are a church, a gas station, and an old-school bowling alley (my personal favorite). A film like this certainly needs a bit of variety to keep things fresh, so I’m glad it went this route.
I’ll be very straightforward; I don’t have a ton of knowledge when it comes to cinematography, especially with technical terms. But, I like to think I can still recognize production value and well-executed shots. To that end, In the Tall Grass has some cool shots and camera pans.
For instance, there is a scene where the camera slowly zooms out, revealing the entire field from a top-down angle. And later on, there’s a sequence that shows piles of writhing corpses, illuminated in crimson light. These scenes end up being very atmospheric and stylish; they add a modern edge to the movie.
Confusing Plot Points/Plot Holes
Even though In the Tall Grass gets many aspects right, it also falters in a few. One of these missteps is with plot holes, of which the film has several. Clearly, the story is meant to be a bit ambiguous. However, there are a few plot points that get a tad too confusing. Thinking back on it, there are still some I can’t make any sense of. Having ambiguity in a story is fine, but too much can easily derail a creative work, and I think In the Tall Grass veers into that territory.
Furthermore, the film drags in certain scenes. I believe the length is a little too long for the content it actually includes. It definitely could’ve been shortened and tightened up in places, while more time was spent on important story elements. I think that would’ve made this movie more enjoyable to watch, overall.
Ultimately, In the Tall Grass is a good movie that suffers from a couple pitfalls. However, the negative aspects are outweighed by the rest of the film, which is quite positive. It may not be the best horror movie, but in the end, I think In the Tall Grass will still please many fans of the genre.
Netflix Media Center Site- https://media.netflix.com/en/
Official Netflix In the Tall Grass Page- https://bit.ly/2RxcPEv
Official IMDB Website- https://m.imdb.com/
All pictures were obtained from the Netflix Media Center site, which I am registered to use.