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Review In the Tall Grass (2019): Did Stephen King really write this story?

genre: horror, thriller, mystery







In the Tall Grass is based on a short tale by the same title written by Joe Hill in collaboration with Stephen King. Joe Hill's real name is Joseph Hillström King. He is Stephen King's son. Why is this of importance? Well, I just saw this film and nothing about it felt like a story written by Stephen King. Maybe, just maybe his name only was attached to draw in more readers and Joseph King wrote this story all by himself. 

Perhaps you are still wondering why this matters. Let's put it this way. I have read some of Stephen King's works and have seen a lot of his adaptations. Most of his stories have a very distinct style and vibe. Even his worst adaptations are atmospheric and creepy. In the Tall Grass tries to be but has nothing in common with anything that Stephen King has been attached to as a writer or film maker.  However this presumption of mine would be a little unfair since I have never read anything of Joe Hill. I have watched Horns (wrtiten by Joe Hill. a.k.a. Joseph King) and I quite liked it since it was a real good dark fantasy tale. Very likely it's not the story that is the problem but the way it is directed by Vincenzo Natali. 

Natali fails to put in fear or dread into this film. The premise itself lends itself for immense tension and creepiness. Yet for the most part In the Tall Grass never is creepy, tense or scary. The elements or ingredients of never ending dread are present. However it's like director Natali had been given the parts but never gotten to figure out how to assemble those and making them fit. The end result is that the film is very incoherent, messy and quite boring. The cast including Patrick Wilson do their best to amp up the terror but they are let down by Natali. He has no idea to bring live to the original story. You are rarely made to feel or care for the characters. A little more backstory on them (perhaps in little flashbacks) would have made them more compelling. In this case it really would have helped to give them more depth and soul. 

Overall the film is incredibly disappointing. It's not super bad. But it's not good either. Actually scratch that. It's a total waste of your time and should be skipped by everyone. Avoid!









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