Cal (Avery Whitted) and his pregnant sister Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) wander into a field of tall grass upon hearing a boy's cries for help. But soon they're struggling to find a way out and strange events are occurring around them.
We've been getting a lot of Stephen King adaptations lately. There was 'It Chapter Two', 'Pet Sematary' earlier this year, the upcoming 'Doctor Sleep' and 'Castle Rock' on Hulu. Netflix is no stranger to King either with efforts including the impressive 'Gerald's Game' and '1922'. As the best adaptations - 'Misery', 'The Shawshank Redemption', 'The Shining' - are hard to top, we're now seeing his more obscure works brought to the screen. 'In the Tall Grass' is based on a novella co-written with Joe Hill. It's certainly one of the weirder works from the mind of the King.
You've got all your horror cliches in there like the brother who's a bit of a nerd and quite naive, and the creepy child. There is a tension created by the inability to place where voices are coming from, and it's easy to see why the characters are stressing out and despairing. Corpses and medical equipment appear and add to the tension. At 101 mins, it doesn't overstay it's welcome.
Performance wise (the cast also including Harrison Gilbertson, Will Buie Jr., Patrick Wilson and Rachel Wilson, no relation to the latter) nothing really stands out, though Patrick Wilson, who's probably the most famous of the lot and no stranger to horror being a regular in the 'Conjuring' franchise, seems to be having a ball anyway. Mostly it's just your average horror movie acting where everyone's either playing it scared or menacing. It's pretty simple, straightforward characterisation with your average horror movie dialogue. Everyone keeps talking about how freaked out they are and havie DMCs at the most inopportune time.
While not as lame and lazy as a horror like 'The Silence', 'In the Tall Grass' is standard-fare and little more than a cheap thrill. One is intrigued by the mystery, and there's the odd jump scare to keep things exciting; but things get so strange that one doubts whether it'll even make sense in the end. Fans of the original novella may be interested to know the adaptation takes leniency with that ending (nothing new when it comes to bringing King from page to screen). As for what it offers for the average movie night in, it's good enough but unlikely to stick.