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Thursday, November 21, 2019

In The Tall Grass Review - [2019 Netflix Film]

Woman wearing blue skirt a hat and a fanny bag trying to enter in the tall grass

Based on a novel by Stephen King and Joe Hill, Netflix’s “In the Tall Grass” is a Canadian supernatural horror film. This Netflix adaptation of said novel was written and directed by Vicenzo Natali. He brings a remarkable knowledge of space and visual poetry that seems influenced by his excellent work on shows like Hannibal and American Gods. 

The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 20, 2019. It was later released on October 4, 2019, by Netflix.

Director: Vincenzo Natali
Screenplay By: Vincenzo Natali
Date Released: 10/4/2019
Genre(s): Supernatural, Horror

Who Should Watch This Film?

  • Those who like to watch horror films with a small cast.
  • People who enjoy twists in supernatural films.
  • Fans of Patrick Wilson who also starred in The Conjuring and Insidious.

Cast of In The Tall Grass

Laysla De Oliveira as Becky - A young, pregnant woman who decided to give up her baby for adoption.

Avery Whitted as Cal - Becky’s brother who is accompanying her to San Diego where she is expected to deliver her baby.

Harrison Gilbertson as Travis - The father of the unborn baby in Becky’s womb, who started his own search months after Becky and Cal have gone missing. 

Patrick Wilson as Ross - The patriarch of the family who got lured into the tall grass.

Will Buie Jr as Tobin - The kid whose voice led Becky and Cal to venture into the tall grass.

Rachel Wilson as Natalie - Tobin’s mother who also got lost and trapped in the field.


Warning: In the Tall Grass Spoilers Ahead

Group of three men and a pregnant women lost at night in the tall grass

If you haven’t watched the film yet and don’t want to be spoiled, this is how far you should go. For those who’ve seen In The Tall Grass movie already, or if you really want to know what’s gonna happen before streaming it, go ahead.

The siblings Cal and Becky were heading to San Diego, but as Becky started to feel nauseous.
Despite her being only three months from giving birth to a little girl, she still dealt with morning sickness. Cal parked the car near a field of tall grass so his pregnant sister can take a short break from their trip, until they heard a boy begging for help from somewhere within the field.

The siblings wade in to find the helpless boy who tells them that he is Tobin, and his parents are lost somewhere inside the grass as well. This ends up in an endless sequence, and most of them are desperately calling out each other's names.

Guy wearing white shirt wandering in the tall grass

Cal eventually found the little boy, who's at once adorable and creepy, and prone to making such pronouncements as "If you don't pay attention, they go away." He also tells Cal, who appears to have an unnatural attachment to his sister, that Becky will die soon. 

Tobin was later shown to have touched a huge, ancient-looking rock in the middle of the field. This scene will raise questions after the movie ends.

Guy with long hair wearing a hat and checkered shirt holding up an image of a lost man and woman

Meanwhile, Travis (Harrison Gilbertson) Becky's-ex and father of her yet-unborn child has been searching for her as the siblings were missing for months already. He found the abandoned church where Cal and Becky stopped. Travis ended up hearing Tobin’s voice and got lured into the grass as well.

It was Travis voice that led the family’s dog and the rest to enter the grass. Thus, revealing the time loop element to the audience.

Soon, Travis found everyone who appears to be different versions of the earlier people who entered the grass. This reveals that apart from a constantly shifting field, there is a time loop they should worry or be thankful about. When the group dies, a different version of them is stuck in the same field trying to survive the madness.

The boy's father, Ross, appeared to be normal at first and claimed that he knows a way out. This is found to be true as anyone who touched the rock would know the whole secret of the mysterious field. However, this would curse the person and won’t be able to leave.

As the movie progresses, it turned out that he’s already gone crazy after touching the big rock and he was just finding the right time to kill them.

Near its end, Ross was able to kill Cal. His death scene revealed Cal’s other corpses which indicates that he died many times after choosing to run the same path.

Becky was caught by grass-head ghosts which seemed to be ancient people who lived in that same area. She was brought beside the big rock where she prematurely gave birth.

Delirious after giving birth, Becky’s POV showed Cal feeding her to gain back her strength. When she snapped back to reality, it turned out to be Ross and that what she ate was pieces of her own child. 

Travis arrived at the scene and a brawl happened near the huge rock. Ross impaled him with a sharp leg bone he found beneath the ground. The father turned to Tobin and forced him to touch the rock.

Becky was able to stab Ross with her pendant before she fell and passed away from fatigue and loss of blood as a result of giving birth. An angry Travis attacked Ross whom he was able to subdue and kill. 

Dying from his stab wound, Travis touched the rock. The history and secrets of the tall grass flashed back on him and as soon as he gets back to himself, he led Tobin to a way out with the thought of saving Becky by preventing them to enter the vicinity.

Tobin was teleported inside the church and he was just in time as he saw Cal’s car parked beside the tall grass. He rushed to Cal and Becky and told them not to go. Tobin showed Becky her soiled pendant as proof and promised to tell the whole story. Having a bad feeling about the place, Becky asked Cal to go back home and they drove away.

Questions Raised About The Scenes Of In The Tall Grass Netflix Adaptation

We’ll try to answer some FAQs about the film. 

How did Ross break Natalie’s head like that? Does he have superhuman strength that he decides to use just once?

Apart from learning their whereabouts, it seems like touching the rock gave Ross a strength boost and immunity from many conditions. He was able to overpower a younger Cal and brawny Travis because of this. However, it won’t grant immortality as both Ross and Travis died after receiving fatal wounds.

Nobody has eaten or had water in DAYS including the pregnant Becky. I had to take two bathroom breaks while watching this film. Sounds impossible?

Becky won’t last a day in that field without food, water, and shelter to take some rest. In the story, it seems like Cal and Becky have repeatedly died in just a day. They were later joined by Travis which indicates that the people he met were different versions created by the time loop.

Becky’s pregnancy makes no sense at all. She never gets further and then she’s just, like, giving birth in the mud?

It does make sense, and it’s the burden which caused her to get caught and die many times in the field.

So… that corpse that the Cal/Ross mash-up person makes Becky eat. Is that her own dead body? Or was that her baby?

The baby was nowhere to be found, and she indeed gave birth. It may be shocking to just think about it, but it’s the baby she was made to eat.

Is Tobin fully aware that Ross keeps killing everyone over and over again?

No. He would have warned everyone when his father showed up again.

Natalie saw his husband Ross, killing Becky and then she saw her alive and still pregnant. What the hell is going on?

Again, the time loop allows them to exist again for some reasons. We were left to assume that another version of Becky appears in the field again as soon as her former self dies. Those who touched the rock probably became “one with the people of grass” and were consumed as well. 

It’s also good to assume that the time loop is created by an entity in an attempt to save those who will be lured by the spirits of the grass.

Tobin touched the rock. If you were cursed with knowledge and bounded to stay in the field, why was he able to get out?

Little child Tobin out of the grass field time loop explained

In the tall grass time loop explanation here:

We can assume that it’s a different version of Tobin who touched the rock. Another story that must have happened due to the time loop, but was not shown in the film:

In the first day, Cal was the last to die. Remember that he’s the only one who wasn’t around after Becky gave birth. Tobin also mentioned that Becky will die soon, hinting that this is an event he has seen before.

Becky was the first to die after she prematurely gave birth due to the harsh conditions of the place and possibly, with the interference of the grass people. She was forced to eat her baby, and soon died in the hands of Ross. 

Ross forced Tobin to touch the rock, sharing the secrets of the field with him. Nothing is known about what happened to Natalie before and after these events. Cal was then chased and killed by the crazy Ross.

What happened differently in this particular time loop, which led to Tobin getting out of the field?

When Travis wasn’t there, Becky kept on dying alone after her labor. But when he joined in, it became harder for Ross to kill the group and there were slight changes in their success chance. The group found the lone barn where they hid for a short while, Cal died first, and Becky got the reason to fight back even just for a bit which led to Ross’ defeat. Travis might have failed a couple of times, but that chance of getting out alive must have increased as the time loop goes along.

What’s wrong with that town?

The townspeople or a few of them knew about the place. They are not talking much about it as they gain something by looting the car of those who got lost in the tall grass.

What Are The Differences Between The Original In The Tall Grass Novel And The Netflix Movie?

In the film, In the Tall Grass underwent some major changes. King and Hill’s story is a lot simpler: 

Becky and Cal got lost in the grass with the Humboldts and either killed or give themselves over to the rock. The cycle begins again at the end of the story, as travelers in an RV are lured in by Becky’s cries for help. Travis is mentioned but doesn’t appear, no one escapes in the grass, and there’s no time looping. Stephen King fans won’t be surprised to learn that the baby-eating substance is right from the original story.

In adding the time loop, the film made the original story a lot more complicated, and open it to a lot more interpretations. If, in the end, Becky and Cal never go into the grass, to begin with, does this mean that Travis never comes looking for them? How was Tobin able to leave when he’d touched the rock earlier in the film? The movie doesn’t answer these questions. But the final shot of In the Tall Grass is Travis collapsing to the ground, which sends a pretty strong message that it’s curtains for him, the film’s true hero. And while that’s pretty grim, it’s a positively cheerful ending compared to King and Hill’s story.

In The Tall Grass Review: Final Verdict (4.5 out of 5.0)

While it is understood that no film should explain every single thing on the screen, leaving things to interpretation leads to many misunderstood events. Such impression tarnishes the film and directors ability to create a good, sensible movie.

On the other hand, the film pleases a huge population of true mystery seekers and solvers. Those who can’t figure it out, would find themselves reading this blog that answers the puzzle they’re trying to complete. Nothing is ever wrong with that, for as long as you tried to understand instead of judging the film while the whole thing isn’t clear.

The film was crafted to tease the mind flexors and those who are tired of cliché plots. The quality of the picture is entirely good and the actors did great. Truly a movie that begs for complex reddit and bedtime discussions.

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