In Horror, there are certain directors and/or writers that I have gravitated to over the years. If you have read my gobbily gook before, you will know I adore Fulci, Argento, and Carpenter. To me, they can do no wrong. Stephen King is one of the writers that to me, can do no wrong. Sure, sometimes his endings can be lackluster, but there’s a reason he is literally the most popular writer in horror and I shouldn’t have to talk about that. But I am going to talk about his latest Netflix endeavor and this time he brought along a family member!
In the Tall Grass (2019)
Cal is driving his pregnant sister Becky to San Diego to meet with a prospective adoptive family. While on a small stretch of highway on the middle of nowhere Kansas, Becky begins to feel nauseous so they stop to ‘get some air’. Soon Becky hears a child yelling for help from the tall grass on the side of the road. Obviously bothered by this, Becky and Cal venture into the grass. Thus, beginning a bizarre and utterly maddening experience IN THE TALL GRASS…
…The field doesn’t move dead things… It makes them easier to find…
Stephen King brought his son Joe Hill (Horns, NOS4A2) along for this horror ride when they tackled this novella together in 2012. Hill who chose a different last name (shorthand of his middle name Hillstrom), to pave his own way without piggybacking on his families’ popularity. He has made quite a name for himself already. But now that the cat is out of the bag, this makes for a really exciting collaboration. In the Tall Grass is a Netflix original that has now been added to the plethora of films the streaming service puts out every month. But the question is how does it stack up?
Pretty fucking mightily if you ask me! But I know you are probably asking yourself, how can grass be scary? This movie shows you in spades. Claustrophobia, disorientation, confusion, anxiety and to top it off, it isn’t a Stephen King flick without a creepy little kid.
The film starred a mostly unknown cast, led by current horror staple Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, Insidious, The Conjuring). For a bunch of unknowns, the cast worked very well together, feeding off each other’s anxieties as the tension mounted. Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice) who is no stranger to horror directed and really kept the tension at a high level throughout. Which kept the pacing and depravity at a good rate.
This film is very multi-layered and has lots to say. Without going to into much spoilery, I felt the tall grass was a metaphor for choice. Make the right choice or spend life chasing that choice. I also think it’s a metaphor for the way we can lose something, constantly chasing regret. Or even how we continue to make the same mistakes in life. Either way, a lot can be read into this film. Also, fun fact, at the 21:00 minute mark or so, one of the characters is listening to a weather report on the radio. The weatherman on said radio is actually the weatherman from my hometown. Which I thought was crazy!
If you are looking for a different and fresh horror flick, take a chance on In the Tall Grass.
If you do, I hope you can find your way out!!!