In The Tall Grass (2019)
Directed by Vincenzo Natali
Based on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill
Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within.
I reviewed this Joe Hill & Stephen King short story earlier today (review HERE). They’re my favorite authors and I read and watch all things Stephen King-related so I of course had to check this out. Well, the short story is certainly never going to be a favorite story of mine from either writer. It has the movie beat, though. I know there have been some godawful King movie adaptations and In The Tall Grass is unfortunately one of the bad ones.
I suspected that it would go all wrong. This is a very short story so I knew they’d have to add stuff to stretch it out into a 1 hour 41 minute movie. Making shit up rarely works and the additional stuff they added was stupid as shit. Here’s what they added (SPOILERS):
The boyfriend, who isn’t in the story AT ALL (don’t think he was really even mentioned) and that TIME LOOP BULLSHIT. WTF was with the time travel shit?! That’s not in the story! Also… that “happy” ending. Why? Can people not have unhappy endings anymore?? The movie adaptation started out fine and seemed to be following the story pretty closely. Then the boyfriend showed up and started bouncing around in time and they all found each other in the tall grass. What?! A main part of the story is that THEY CAN’T FIND EACH OTHER IN THE GRASS even when it sounds like they’re right next to each other!!!
Why, of all the stories to adapt, did they choose this one? And why, of all the additional things they could’ve added to this movie, did they decide to go with time loop shit? It was ridiculous and made zero sense. They took a pretty straightforward creepy story and turned it into a silly, incoherent mess. The characters also had zero development, which was pretty amazing considering the 40ish page story managed to do okay with the brother and sister but the hour and a half film left you knowing nothing about them. The acting was also dreadful, especially from the guy playing the brother and Patrick Wilson (but I’ve always found him a bore). The icky stuff that turned me off of the book was in this too but not really focused on (and undone with time loop bullshit anyway). Hill and King have SO many absolutely brilliant short stories. Why someone took a fairly bad one and decided to make it a thousand times worse by changing it so much is beyond me.
My Rating: 4/10
I need to add this to my ranked list of all Stephen King Movie Adaptations. It’s probably third from the bottom (out of 45). I’m seeing Doctor Sleep tomorrow. Hoping it’s MUCH better than this!
I’ll try to review Doctor Sleep tomorrow but, if I don’t have time, I do already have my review of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) scheduled to post as this year’s Halloween review. I liked it a lot, which makes up for all the bad horrors I watched this year.