Fri. Nov 22nd, 2019

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘In The Tall Grass’ (2019)

6 min read
It really is a marvelous concept, and the very idea of it would make a great short that ended in a cliffhanger.  But by nature, if you're trying to complete a circle, and you have to go round the damn thing a half dozen times, it just gets annoying!  And I don't have a better word for it.

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I don’t need to walk around in circles, walk around in circles, walk around in circles.

Okay… NEVER base your ENTIRE FUCKING PLOT on something that is considered to be a huge no-no in writing.  What I speak of specifically, is running your plot in circles.  Bold effort, I give them that!  And I have to admit, there was a lot to like about this movie.  But it was -and this really isn’t a spoiler- specifically designed to go round and fucking round in giant plot circle.  How is it okay to write a plot that is literally intended to go round in fucking circles?!

Here’s the thing.  It really is a marvelous concept, and the very idea of it would make a great short that ended in a cliffhanger.  But by nature, if you’re trying to complete a circle, and you have to go round the damn thing a half dozen times, it just gets annoying!  And I don’t have a better word for it.  When the plot goes round in circles, it’s just plain fucking annoying.

Well, I can’t get into the meat and tatoes, unless I hit the spoilers, so let’s get the basics out of the way.  Fantastic acting.  I really mean that.  This is award winning material here.  Dialogue, included.  Even the the child actor was solid.  I really think the cast deserves recognition for their work.  While the plot didn’t work, the over-arching concept is fantastic.  This leads to an absolutely amazing, even if simplistic, atmosphere.  Everything is that damn grass, and it really does seem suffocating, even disorienting.  And the movie is dark.  They don’t just use the darkness of the film to create a bleak environment, they also, quite brilliantly, use it to hide what are obviously shit CGI FX.  Finally, the mythos is truly captivating.  The Tall Grass isn’t just some esoteric forces.  They really put detail into its character and behavior.  They did just about everything right, so why was this movie so damn bad?

Before I tell you, just understand that I don’t recommend this movie.  Not for Horror Heads, not even Riffers, not even fans that absolutely must see everything King does.  While I wanted to like it, it really just annoyed the fuck out of me.

SPOILERS!!!

So, just to fully explain the setup.  This thing in the tall grass is much like, He Who Walks Behind The Rows, and in fact might be the same kind of entity.  It wants worshipers, and in order to get them it traps them in a fragmented maze of time and space.  The reason why each character is always ‘moving’ when they’re standing still, is because they’re not ‘moving,’ they’re connecting with alternate versions or each other who ended up in a different spot.  Infinite probabilities constantly ping-ponging off of each other.  Different points of time and space fragmented around each other, meaning there is more than one of every character at all times, but they’re only connected for a second.  And because each character essentially inhabits their own space, they can’t interact with themselves, just infinite probabilities of the other characters.  This would explain why the grass doesn’t move the dead.  It can’t risk the paradox of a character meeting themselves, even dead, so they’re permanently static to each character.

But that’s the fucking thing.  There’s your god damn out, right fucking there.  Get two dead things, pick one up, carry it within sight of the other dead thing, go back and get the other dead thing, carry it the same fucking direction, repeat.  As long as you can always see both dead things, it can’t bounce your position.  It will take a long ass time, but eventually you’ll come to an edge.

They also figured out a method that should’ve been blatantly fucking obvious.  If you can see over the grass, it can’t bounce you.  It needs the time/space changes to be inappreciable to work, so the moment you can see over the grass, it can’t swap them. You’re fixed until you go back below the grass line.  So, if just one person made a point to sit on another’s shoulders, you can see over the grass and prevent it from bouncing you around.  It takes them like, half the damn movie to figure out the most obvious cheat.

So, here’s my issue with this.  In order to establish this concept, it’s necessary for each character to eventually bump into another version of another character from a different tangent time/space.  This means, a lot of completely pointless interactions are made for the purpose of highlighting multiple probabilities in each characters past present and future.  At one point, the character, Travis, Cal, Ross, and even the child actor’s character Tobin are beholden to The Tall Grass, through this stone at the center.  All you have to do is touch it, and that tangent reality is permanently beholden to it.  Only Tobin and Travis are never encountered dead, Becky is killed multiple times, and Cal is revealed to have been killed hundreds of times.

This makes the ending hugely problematic.  What should’ve happened, is everyone, should have succumbed, one at a time, to The Tall Grass, until each tangent reality is a cyclical hell that they could never escape from.  However, they went for the ‘nice’ ending where a selfless act get’s Tobin and Becky out of the grass… here’s the problem with that.  If this could be reduced to a singular tangent to permanently break The Tall Grass’s control, it creates a causality paradox.  Travis gets Tobin out of the grass to stop Becky from ever entering.  However, Travis only got caught in the grass trying to find Becky.  Which means, if Tobin stops Becky from entering the grass, there’s no reason for Travis to go into the grass looking for Becky, which means he won’t be there to get Tobin out to stop Becky.

Which can only mean, in order for the ending to work, Travis is merely one of infinite. That means he only saved one Becky out of infinite, which means it really didn’t accomplish anything, which means this whole story is just a circular pile of garbage. We got to the end for the most meaningless ending they could have possibly contrived.

Look, I WANT to like this movie, and there are so many fucking things to like bout this movie… but you can’t base a plot off of intentionally running the plot in circles.

Thank you for your continuing support of Reed Alexander’s Horror Review.  You can contribute to the review by donating.  Just click the link below and hit the ‘Tip’ button at the top of the page.
https://vocal.media/authors/reed-alexander

Did you know Reed Alexander is a writer?  You can read a sample his books by following one of the links below.  Consider supporting him by purchasing a copy.

In the Shadow of the Mountain
https://vocal.media/horror/a-sample-in-the-shadow-of-the-mountain-by-reed-alexander-2019

Inhuman Error
https://vocal.media/horror/sample-inhuman-error-first-of-the-upd-series-by-james-lief-and-reed-alexander-2019

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