Review by Kolby Mac
Director: Vincenzo Natali
Writer: Vincenzo Nitali, Stephen King, Joe Hill
Starring: Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr, Harrison Gilbertson
Run Time: 101 mins
If Netflix knows how to do anything, it’s spend money. Why? Who knows. We’d believe it’s to offer diverse content that affords storytellers the latitude to artistically champion a vision with a unique perspective and to provoke thought and entertain.
They’re battin’ below .200 at this point, and I’m unsure if they really care. On the one hand, Netflix most certainly offers an avenue to be a playground for creators, almost to show up the stuffy and meddlesome traditional studios. On the other hand, with films like “In the Tall Grass,” I wish there was meddling, lots and lots of meddling.
How this script makes it past Patrick Wilson’s Agent baffles me. Set outside a rural interstate, a group of individuals falls into the snare of a villainous field of grass, which sends them spiraling into madness that makes them question their relationships, life, and faith.
Yeah, you heard that right...Villainous Grass. This terrible Religious Allegory masquerading as a glossy sci-fi horror thriller is just as weird as it sounds. With its odd pacing, non-effective characterizations, and an absurdly incoherent script, Vincenzo Nitali tries very hard to disarm your logic with abstract visuals that, in any other film, could be impressive. However, when working from a dense novella from the father and son duo of Stephen King and Joe Hill, it’s too tall an order.
This 100-minute movie spends 80% of the run time with its characters yelling at one another and providing no nuance to sensible conversations. The performances are poor. While Wilson’s over the top dramatization is a lofty attempt, the lack of chemistry throughout the rest of the ensemble is emblematic of a script with a lot to say and a director unable to support that vision cinematically.
“In the Tall Grass” should be approached with the same regard as a KEEP OFF GRASS sign. Stay away. FAR AWAY! You’ll only appreciate the time less spent with characters that are too easy to not care about and a story so self-absorbed in its religious commentary that it forgets to do the basic things to drive a narrative and entertain an audience...unless you’re into Grass People, slight hints of incest, and Fever Dream Cannibalism.