Netflix’s Original ‘In The Tall Grass’: In-Depth Movie Review

Based on Stephen King’s novella, In The Tall Grass, comes Netflix’s Latest Original Movie.

Welcome to the Honest Movie Review of Netflix’s Original ‘In The Tall Grass’! An alien rock, time loops and an endless maze of tall grass are what awaits Becky and Cal, siblings trapped in a hellish nightmare. Based on Stephen King’s novella of the same name, In The Tall Grass is the latest addition to the list of Mind Bending Movies of 2019.

In The Tall Grass’ – in a nutshell..

Siblings Becky and Cal Demuth stop their car in the middle of nowhere when Becky experiences sudden nausea, caused due to her pregnancy. When they hear a little boy (Tobin) calling for help from inside the field of tall grass; an impromptu rescue mission turns out be a fight for their survival.

Fighting through emotional turmoil, physical brutalities and mind-bending space-time continuum anomalies, Becky and Cal defy all odds with the help of Travis, Becky’s ex-boyfriend and our second protagonist.

From left: Travis (Harrison Gilbertson), Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and Cal (Avery Demuth) from ‘In the Tall Grass.’

What to look-out for in ‘In The Tall Grass’?

Background score and Sound effects –

Composer Mark Korven unleashes myriad of emotions in viewers through his intense set-pieces as well as detailed sound effects.  Sounds like a person’s ragged breathing, chewing, wind rustling between grass blades, etc. are done perfectly.

The movie starts with Sam Cooke’s ‘It’s Alright’,  a classic soul melody which sets up the theme of the entire movie. A pregnant woman is driving cross country with her brother to find ways to give up her unborn child but finds herself trapped in hell. Nothing about this is ‘alright.’ But as the movie progresses, it shows what the characters are willing to sacrifice just for a positive outcome and it is all done out of Love. Unequivocal and unrequited love.

Note: Watch movie with headsets/earphones on for a wholesome experience.

Fast paced story-line –

Director Vincenzo Natali wastes no time in getting into the plot of the movie. 15 minutes in and the plot line starts unraveling. There is just enough exposition on the characters to make them familiar but not entirely relatable.

Patrick Wilson as Ross gives off a creepy vibe as soon as he is introduced in the movie. His descent into madness reminded many viewers of Jack Torrance from The Shining.

Exhibit A
Exhibit B.

Director Natali continues down the story-line through all the gore, hallucinations, and time loops with no apologies. Endless time loops stretching on for decades.

Metaphors, layered sub-texts and over-arching themes:

Movie’s protagonists lost in the tall grass represents their trepidation in their real lives. With an unplanned pregnancy, a road trip and a mysterious call for help from a kid, In The Tall Grass subliminally feeds the viewer about its uncertainty and complexity.

An over-arching theme of choice comes up repeatedly.

  • Seeing Becky regret that she ‘made the same mistakes over and over again’,
  • Observing Ross’ choice to rather kill everyone than to protect,
  • Noticing Travis choosing to use the same power for good instead of evil,
  • Travis choosing Becky’s life over his own.

What can you skip in ‘In The Tall Grass?

Logical understanding:

Your brain would implode before getting the movie right in the first viewing. An alien space-rock causing the laws of physics to bend over backwards demands multiple viewings, now.

The movie tries to bind the viewer with the situation’s gravity but misses even the most basic of logic at times. For example, when you see a woman’s skull getting crushed by bare hands, you do not stop to squabble about high-school diplomas!

After a while, you are just trying to make it through the gory killings and endless loops of protagonists crying over their friend’s corpse.

Character developments:

As much the cast tried, they failed to connect with the audience. I felt as if Patrick Wilson was too good for this role. Within 2 minutes of his character’s on-screen introduction, his evil intentions were apparent. It was almost as if he was taunting the viewers to call him out on his ‘concerned father cum good samaritan’ charade.

Closure:

The movie ends with a quite a few issues unresolved. For example, the almost incestuous feelings of Cal for his sister remains unresolved till the end.

BEST SCENES FROM ‘IN THE TALL GRASS’:

Becky and Cal Jump Scene:

Around the 10 minute mark, the sister-brother duo jumps high to determine their relative distance from one another. On their first jump, they see each other at 10 feet distance.

First jump: 10 feet away.

On the second jump though, things turn weird:

Second Jump: that is not 10 feet!.

Cal sees the alien rock for the first time:

An intense scene with a powerful background score and incredible sound effects. Avery Whitted potrays the role of an entranced devotee to the dot making it one of the best scenes in the movie.

Still from “In The Tall Grass”

what’s the verdict on ‘in the tall grass’?

There are no monsters in this movie. It only shows what a human being is capable of when given a purpose and power. Ross, a god fearing family man, when given a power chooses to kill everyone brutally multiple of times. On the other hand, Travis, when endowed with same power, chooses to help others out at the cost of his own life.

If you like psychological thriller movies with layers, then you can definitely give this one a go. Be wary of elements of gore and graphic violence.

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