In The Tall Grass (2019) movie review — it fails to deliver

A horror movie with a decent premise, but one that ultimately fails to deliver. It lacks many of the key ingredients of a good horror movie, or at least fails to apply them after the first 20 minutes.

Without giving away too many spoilers, the premise of In The Tall Grass is that a pregnant woman and her brother are travelling through farmland in the US. They stop briefly and hear a boy shouting for help from within a field of tall grass adjacent to the road, whereupon they decide to try and rescue the boy.

As a starter, that looks promising. It would be possible to get lost a field where the grass is so tall you can’t see over it and it might be claustrophobic surrounded on all sides by the grass. Add in a bit of spookiness from something other-worldly and you’ve got the makings of decent film.

Alas, whilst the starter is tempting, the main course fails to deliver.

The spookiness seems to drain away. There are certainly some unusual goings-on in this field but the movie fails to maintain tension once it gets going. It doesn’t keep up the psychological stress in the way a good horror movie should.

In The Tall Grass film still.

The film is based on a novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill. I don’t know much about Joe Hill, but I’ve read pretty much everything by Stephen King and he knows how to write horror. He is in my opinion one of the best storytellers in the business. He keeps you turning the page even in books where the story itself is perhaps not the best he’s written.

As it happens, I have not read this particular novella but I understand the film is not true to the story. That’s the first mistake and I don’t know why movie companies do that. Why take a story from one of the most successful writers in the world and change it? I can see that certain things may need to be adapted to work a little better on the screen, but a writer — particularly one of King’s stature — will have spent time crafting a good horror and movie companies should remain as true as possible to the original plot.

Either way, I don’t think the problem with this movie is the plot. It’s the delivery. It fails to maintain the pressure and the only reason I watched it to the end was out of curiosity. I watched this with a friend and, if I’m honest, I’d have lost focus well before the halfway point if I’d been on my own.

This film is a Netflix production and having previously watched their Bird Box film I had high hopes for In The Tall Grass, but it’s not in the same league.

Maybe that’s just me, though. It’s not completely terrible and it might float your particular boat. If you have Netflix it won’t cost you anything more than your monthly fee to watch this and you might want to give it a try. I couldn’t personally recommend it but it attracts middling reviews from a lot of places and maybe it just didn’t gel with my friend and I.

I can’t see this as anything more than two star film.