A couple hears a boy calling for help from a field of tall grass. They go in to help. And can’t come out.
IN THE TALL GRASS is a throat-clutching, unrelenting thriller, based on a novella by Stephen King and his just-as-weird son, Joe Hill (whose name somehow sounds like a Stephen King pseudonym).
Pregnant Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and her brother Cal (Avery Whitted) stop by the side of a deserted two-lane highway to allow Becky to vomit, near a field of tall grass. They hear a boy repeatedly calling, “Help, I’m lost in here!” Then another voice, a woman: “Tobin, stop calling!” Eerie…
Nonetheless, both Becky and Cal enter the tall grass, quickly lose each other and then discover they have lost their way back to the road. Calling to each other doesn’t help; jumping higher than the grass doesn’t help; using a church steeple across the road as a landmark doesn’t help, as every time they jump, the steeple is farther away – and they are farther away from each other!
Night falls, and as Becky’s hope wanes of escaping the tall grass, the boy crying for help emerges, – Tobin (Will Buie Jr.). Ragged, yet calm, he looks like he’s been in here awhile. He tells her, “The grass knows everything.” Well… that doesn’t help. “The field doesn’t move dead things. It makes them easier to find.” Neither does that. But that line is so Stephen King, at least we know who’s responsible for our predicament.
Patrick Wilson is Tobin’s dad, with a very unhealthy devotion to something in a clearing that looks like a giant rock. Harrison Gilbertson is Travis, Becky’s boyfriend (and her soon-to-be baby-daddy), who has pursued Becky across the States, and found her car near the side of the road, entering the tall grass to find her…
Director-screenwriter Vincenzo Natali builds the claustrophobia to mind-leveling proportions, then tips the tale into time-loop, as we find ourselves outside the tall grass again with Becky and Cal – and they hear themselves calling to each other within the tall grass.
After many surprising turns, we realize we are beside ourselves, as Becky, Travis and Cal on the inside are calling to themselves on the outside not to enter the tall grass.
The rock in the clearing wants a sacrifice, and final scenes are unexplained, yet gruesome and disturbing, as Becky’s water breaks, and she falls into an hallucinatory state, and is fed an unknown substance by somebody offscreen (Ross? An alien? Tobin? Cal?) – and she eats lasciviously of…. her neonate? Her placenta?
Don’t they always say that grass is a gateway drug?