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13th Oct 2019

Netflix’s new horror In The Tall Grass is chilling in parts, but ultimately a bit flat

Jade Hayden


The grass doesn’t move dead things.

Ahead of this year’s eagerly anticipated Halloween season, Netflix has been treating us all to a staggered number of spooky offerings.

One of those is In The Tall Grass, a new supernatural horror movie that is bound to scare you a bit – and confuse you a lot.

Based on the Stephen King and Joe Hill 2012 novella of the same name, the film introduces us to Becky and Cal, a brother and sister who are travelling cross-country so Becky can give her unborn baby up for adoption.

The siblings stop at the side of the road – by the Tall Grass, nonetheless – and decide to investigate when they hear a young boy calling for help.

But once they enter the grass, they won’t be able to leave.

Watch the movie on a whim without paying much attention to the credits – or the Netflix blurb – and any fan of King’s work will probably be able to work out that this offering is one of his within the first half hour.

There’s a creepy countryside location, there’s a time warp, there’s an eerie sense of foreboding as a character must make an important decision about their future, a process that will naturally be peppered with fear, panic, and a decomposing body or two.

In The Tall Grass, as a concept, is scary.

Enter the grass and you can’t get out. You’ll come face to face with your own fear, lose your loved ones, and wander aimlessly until time folds in on itself. Patrick Wilson will be there.

The film boasts some genuinely creepy moments and a vaguely interesting supernatural twist (Will Buie Jr is also a bit of a standout as young Tobin), but it loses itself far too early on, simultaneously trying to do too much and too little at the same time.

Characters are introduced – and re-introduced again – without much purpose. A subplot about a failed romance doesn’t hold that much weight. Cal and Becky’s relationship to one another is questionable at best, as audiences would be almost forgiven for forgetting that they were supposed to be brother and sister at all.

King has long admitted – and as of late, accepted – that his endings can often disappoint following on from from plots that are rich with detail and genuinely scary in parts.

In The Tall Grass is no different, as a quite clever concept and a not-bad start is almost driven into the ground by an eventual logic that doesn’t reveal anything or even make that much sense.

While a story like this no doubt does a lot on the page, it struggles to do much on screen.

The grass “doesn’t move dead things” – and maybe Netflix shouldn’t either.