Something evil lies in the tall grass.
I became slightly interested in this movie when the Netflix trailer debuted, curious to know what’s actually going on in the tall grass. I haven’t read the novella, written by Stephen King and Joe Hill, so won’t be doing any comparisons.
Brother and sister, Becky and Cal, are headed to San Diego as a pregnant Becky needs to pull over for morning sickness. While they’re stopped next to some tall grass and a church, they hear a boy screaming for help from within the grass.
As you’d think, they go in to search, only find themselves lost, and eventually, realize something is terribly wrong with the grass. They run into the boy, Tobin, and his family, as well as a giant rock in the center of it.
Sometime later, Becky’s ex, Travis, goes in search of them, only to find himself lost in the grass and also runs into Tobin, who already seems to know him.
Later, Travis yells for help, only for Tobin and his family to pull up next to the grass, hear his calls, and run in.
A Maze of Confusion
I will say, as confused as the characters are, the audience will be as well (which I’m not saying is a bad thing.) The beginning is my favorite part, setting up the grass and how easy it is for people to get lost in it. There’s also a mystery surrounding an empty church across the road.
One of my favorite shots is of the church with cars parked outside but no one around. It added to the eery feeling of the grass and showed how many people stopped only to never come out.
Like a lot of Stephen King’s stories, not a lot is explained. You get a sense of what’s going on and what happened to the characters, but it is up to you to decipher what the rock and grass are, why the rock wants you to touch it, and the effect it has. I actually read a few explanations of the ending and found a few different interpretations.
There is a sense of uneasiness the longer the characters are stuck in the grass, but I wouldn’t chalk this up as a “scary” movie…unless you have a fear of getting stuck in mazes.
One of the downfalls, for me, is the characters. I didn’t like them very much, but there is talk of “redemption” so maybe that’s the point, to show if a person can be redeemed. Still, I wish I cared more when something happened to them. With the exception of Travis, who seemed to be the only one to change and make sacrifices, and Tobin who witnessed a lot of trauma, I wasn’t too concerned.
Oh, and the dog Freddie. I wanted him to be okay.
There were moments I felt the movie dragged on a bit. When I thought it was almost over, more happened. There are long shots of the grass, and even though it looks great, sometimes I wanted it to keep moving.
I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this one.
For some, it may be an almost two-hour movie of people stumbling around in the grass, sometimes repeating the same mistakes but for others, that’s why they like it.
I didn’t care about some (okay most) of the characters, but overall, I wanted to make it to the end. I wanted to know the truth behind the grass.
And it did leave me feeling a bit creeped out, which does make it a recommendation. Not my favorite Stephen King movie, but the mystery keeps you interested enough to keep watching.