‘In the Tall Grass’ Starts Strong but is Mowed Down by Mediocrity

Just in case Children of the Corn didn’t scare you enough to stay out of fields, here’s a new movie from Netflix called In the Tall Grass in which a group of people get lost in a field of tall grass and then time breaks so that the person who thinks he’s there to find his sister only to unwittingly lead her into the field in the first place.

It’s weird and complicated.

Those are the two words I can best come up with to describe In the Tall Grass, an adaptation of a Stephen King story that I have never read. Overall, it’s a fairly serviceable scary movie that offers nothing very memorable or scary, though it does succeed in creating a sense of dread so I’ll give it that.

I’ll also give the movie the win in the weird column. I liked how the movie wasn’t just a bunch of people stuck in the grass, but also a movie about people being stuck in the grass with time being broken as well. I really wish it would have exploited that particular plot point a little more rather than hit it and quit it.

Those very nice things I just said are compliments… there is a lot wrong with this movie. Patrick Wilson, who I like as an actor, is cast as the main antagonist and it just does not work. In addition to being about as threatening as a kitty cat, his casual manner doesn’t really work at all despite being an entertaining villain. As a matter of fact, the movie works best when the antagonist is unseen and unknown… sort of like Poltergeist. When In the Tall Grass gives the supernatural a friendly human face, the threat completely falls apart.

It’s rather interesting, come to think of it, how quickly In the Tall Grass goes from being an interesting concept to losing all of its goodwill by making a virtual train of bad creative decisions. The movie becomes repetitive, dull, and does not take advantage of its own setup. Like I said, I’m not familiar with the original Stephen King short story, so I’m not sure how faithful or unfaithful it was, but I can say that the movie goes in the wrong direction and, if the original story went that direction as well, the movie should have done an about face.

Watch the first thirty minutes and then turn it off. Sure, you’ll wonder what’s going to happen, but at least you’ll be left without the overwhelming disappointment.

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