A Grassy Nightmare
Being lost is a scary experience. But if you get lost in a vast field of tall grass and canít find your way out, thatís a nightmare! Stephen King and his son Joe Hill realized the fright potential of this situation and wrote about it in their ĒIn the Tall GrassĒ novella, which filmmaker Vincenzo Natali has adapted for the screen. The story follows a brother and his pregnant sister who park their car on the side of the road while driving through Kansas on their way to San Diego. The sister (Laysla De Oliveira) has heard a young boy calling for help. Heís inside the grassy field on the side of the road where they stopped. The sister goes in, hoping to bring the boy to safety. Alas! She canít find her way out either. Then her brother (Avery Whitted) tries to find her and the boy (Will Buie Jr.). When the three finally get together, the young boy becomes their guide inside the grass. He tells them something evil is keeping them from leaving.
When the youngster's father (Patrick Wilson) enters the picture, we donít know whether to trust him or not, but we do know something isnít right. Two other characters add to our confusion: the young boyís mom (Rachel Wilson) and the sisterís ex-boyfriend (Harrison Gilbertson). Could a mysterious rock at the center of the grassy field be the cause of evil here?
Because of Nataliís skillful direction and Craig Wrobleskiís creative cinematic eye, the first part of In the Tall Grass looks terrific. The grassy field seems to come alive right before our eyes. Gorgeous shots of dew dropping slowly off a strand of grass and eerie overhead shots of the waving grass help us buy into this Netflix offering. Unfortunately, the repetition of characters shouting to each other about where they are and too many dark scenes during the last part of the film almost put us to sleep. Perhaps a novella works best as a short film
Horror films: the season arrives.
And right away, one movie dives.
ďIn the Tall GrassĒ starts out so fine,
only to stumble out of line.
Lots of tall grass we get to see.
And actors caught inside, really!
Pregnant woman and little boy.
And more at hand soon to destroy.
A brother and a family.
No one can break out easily.
A rock, a church, a scary man
all added in for eyes to scan.
Dark scenes block what is happening.
We canít see much of anything.
From Stephen Kingís novella, yes.
Sorry the film ends up a mess.
(For more information about In the Tall Grass, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.)