Fantastic Fest 2019 Review: IN THE TALL GRASS

By Liz Lopez 

Rating: B+

“In the Tall Grass” is directed by Vicenzo Natali and the screenplay is one her adapted from the novella written Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. I have never liked stepping into or walking in overgrown grass, much less grass that is taller than I am, so watching this film was a real challenge for me from the moment I heard the voice of a young boy, Tobin (Will Buie Jr.), coming from within. I have not read the novella and I am not sure how frightful I would find it as compared to the visual of seeing the beautiful green grass billowing and not knowing what horrors it holds within what appears to be acres and acres of land from the aerial shots by the excellent cinematographer, Craig Wrobleski (“The Twilight Zone” TV series).

All the actors deliver good dramatic performances throughout the film and as soon as I saw Patrick Wilson in the role of Ross Humboldt (who turns out to be Tobin’s father), there was no doubt in my mind he was going to be the ultimate bad guy in the story. He is good in this film, yet his delivery is very similar to another film that led back to him as the villain. He does give me the creeps even though he is a nice – looking man – maybe that makes it feel even worse – going from real estate professional to the evil doer. One scene where he is talking to a young pregnant woman, Becky DeMuth (Laysla De Oliveira), is enough to give any woman the chills with his sleazy talk. Patrick Wilson is very effective in his role.

The story is quite simple – people walk into the tall field of beautiful grass and finding their way out is not an option – but they don’t know this until they have taken one step too many towards the force that draws them in.

Harrison Gilbertson (“Upgrade”) portrays Travis, Becky’s baby daddy, who has had a change of heart about their forthcoming child. I did not recognize him in this role with longer hair and different look, but his performance is such that I want to continue to watch his other upcoming work.

After the World Premiere at Fantastic Fest, this film will be available through Netflix in October.

Source: Netflix, Fantastic Fest

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