In the Tall Grass

In the Tall Grass is a 2019 Canadian supernatural horror drama film written and directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr. & Rachel Wilson. It is based on Stephen King and Joe Hill’s 2012 novella of the same name. The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 20, 2019. It was later released on October 4, 2019, by Netflix.

Siblings Becky and Cal DeMuth travel to San Diego so that 6-months-pregnant Becky can give up her baby for adoption. While stopping outside an old church, the pair hears a young boy named Tobin call for help from a nearby field of tall grass. the pair enters but quickly gets separated and finds that their distance from one another changes strangely. Increasingly panicked, the pair decides to leave but are unable to locate the road. Night falls and Cal stumbles across a bruised and dirty Tobin holding a dead crow, who claims the grass won’t move dead things and buries the bird in the path. Becky encounters Tobin’s father, Ross, but they get separated in the grass. Tobin leads Cal to an ancient rock in the field and encourages him to touch it, but they are interrupted by Becky’s scream as she is attacked by an unseen figure.

Meanwhile, the father of Becky’s child, Travis, arrives looking for her and Cal. He finds their car parked outside the church and decides to investigate the field of grass, eventually stumbling across Tobin who leads him to Becky’s rotting corpse. As Travis grieves, he loses sight of Tobin. At the same time, a seemingly earlier version of Tobin arrives at the church with Natalie and Ross. Hearing Travis, who is now calling out to Tobin, their dog Freddy runs into the grass and the family runs in after him where Travis hears Tobin and looks for him. The family panics and scatters, with Ross stumbling across the rock and touching it as night falls. Morning comes and shows Becky and Cal re-entering the grass as they investigate Tobin’s cries. Tobin states that Freddy was killed. Knowing that the grass does not move dead things, Travis instructs Becky and Cal to move toward Tobin and all four find each other. Travis tells Becky and Cal that they had been missing for two months.

The group walks to a building that they see while Beck receives a call from someone who is very distressed.  As they walk, the grass seemingly enters Becky’s uterus and she passes out, only to be revived by Ross, who then reunites with Tobin as the sun goes down. Ross leads them to the rock where they are confronted by a startled Natalie who claims she saw Becky’s corpse earlier. She then warns them not to touch the rock. Ross gets more and more agitated until the others decide to leave. He wounds Travis and kills Natalie before pursuing the others, claiming the rock showed him the truth and the way out, but that he doesn’t want to leave. Becky, Cal, Travis and Tobin reach the abandoned building and while scouting, Travis and Cal discover that Freddy has managed to escape the field via a “hole” that leads to the road. A jealous Cal, who is implied to have incestuous feelings for Becky, lets go of Travis as he slips, causing him to fall off the roof. Tobin witnesses this and flees into the field when Ross follows them to the roof.

Becky refuses to leave Travis and goes back and as Cal flees, Cal is strangled to death by Ross and it is revealed they are in a time loop, permanently being hunted by an insane Ross in the grass. Travis has survived the fall and goes searching for Becky. They can hear each other on opposite sides of the field and Becky admits she was going to give up the baby for adoption. Becky is attacked by Ross but escapes after stabbing him in the eye as a thunderstorm begins. Becky is confronted by Grass Creatures who carry her to the rock which has prophetic markings relating to Becky’s pregnancy. After seeing a horrific vision underneath the rock, Becky frantically makes a phone call, pleading for her past self to prevent Cal from hurting Travis. Becky then passes out. She awakens to find Cal caring for her, but she is actually hallucinating and it’s actually Ross, and feeding her with what is revealed to be her baby.

Moments later, Travis stumbles across Becky’s unconscious body. Tobin finds him and they are confronted by Ross, who mortally wounds Travis. As Ross tries to make Tobin touch the rock, Becky attacks Ross and scratches out his other eye with her necklace, before dying from her wounds. Travis kills Ross and then realizes the only way to understand the grass is to touch the rock. Travis touches the rock and sees a series of strange visions. He then grabs Tobin’s hand and guides him through the grass to an exit, instructing him to stop Becky and Cal from entering the grass. Tobin emerges in the church across the road just as Becky and Cal are about to enter the grass and convinces them to stay out by showing them Becky’s necklace that Travis gave him, hence closing the loop. Becky decides to keep her baby as they drive back home. Travis listens to them leave and dies peacefully in the grass.

Very interesting concept but what the heck is in that tall grass? And time loops and stuff? It leaves so many questions unanswered and I hate that. But then this is a short story which is made into a movie and there are bound to be some limitations. I give it a 7 outta 10!

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