In The Tall Grass, which just dropped on Netflix, is a film that asks the eternal question, “How much patience do you have for watching people wander around a field?”
Now, of course, this isn’t an ordinary field. This is a field of extremely tall grass. It’s also a field where time keeps looping and collapsing in on itself, which means that the same stuff keeps happening over and over again. So, if you do get lost in the tall grass, make sure that you get lost with someone interesting because you’re going to be hearing the same jokes over and over again. There’s also a magic rock sitting somewhere in the maze. Obviously, whenever you see a magic rock, your first instinct is to touch it but you should avoid this rock because it can cause you to go insane and start doing a Jack Nicholson In The Shining impersonation.
The other thing about the grass is that, once you enter it, it moves you around at random. The only way to get the grass to stop moving you is to die but that’s kind of difficult when you’re stuck in a time loop and you keep coming back to life.
There are two different families stuck in the grass. There’s pregnant Becky (Laysla De Oliveira ) and her creepy brother, Cal (Avery Whitted). And then there’s the Humbolds, father Ross (Patrick Wilson), mother Natalie (Rachel Wilson), and son Tobin (Will Buie, Jr.). Eventually, the father of Becky’s child, Travis (Harrison Gilbertson) shows up as well. Because time is all up in the air when you’re trapped in the field, we get to watch as everyone first notices and then wanders into the tall grass. It actually gets kind of amusing watching everyone just wander in. I mean, no one ever stops to say, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t wander into the big, overgrown field that’s sitting out here in the middle of nowhere. Maybe there’s another way to find my loved ones….”
In The Tall Grass is based on a novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill. It’s got an intriguing premise but it’s also got a running time of 100 minutes and that’s a lot of time to spend watching a group of underdeveloped characters wander around in the tall grass. Director Vincenzo Natali has a good visual sense and there’s a great scene where Becky and Cal jump up and down to try to find each other, just to discover that, with each jump, the grass has moved them further away from each other. But, at the same time, there’s only so many times you can get excited by a slow-motion shot of the grass moving in the wind and the night scenes (of which there are a few) are so dark that I couldn’t tell who was chasing who.
Patrick Wilson has always been typecast as a nice guy so it’s fun to see him play someone who is …. well, a little different. Wilson appears to be having fun and good for him. Otherwise, this is not a film to get lost in.