Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Tall Man

The Tall Man is a weird one. On one hand I was absolutely thrilled by the twist that occurs halfway through the movie. It was original and took me completely by surprise. On the other hand the direction the story takes from there goes in a direction that I found anticlimactic and kind of underwhelming.

In the small town of Cold Rock there has been an epidemic of child disappearances. Local doctor Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) and the rest of the town have blamed the kidnappings on a mythical figure called “The Tall Man”. When her child is taken right in front of her she chases after the person responsible and discovers that all is not what it seems.

I will not go any further into the happenings of this flick so that if you are interested in checking it out for yourself you will receive the same out of nowhere bitchslap that I did. The ballsy twist is unexpected and takes this movie into an area I never saw coming. It keeps this movie, that could have been yet another boring thriller, interesting and gripping.
My issue is that once the twist happens we are led to believe that the plot is heading to a horrific conclusion. It is built up and built up to the breaking point, but when the explanation as to what has been going on the entire time is revealed I couldn’t help but cock my head to the side and say aloud, “Seriously? That’s what this is really about?!” Disappointment set in and I couldn’t believe that the filmmakers chickened out in the end. Sure I can see that they were trying to make a point, but it just isn’t what I wanted to see. This was billed as a horror movie and there is no horror. Well, there’s the horror of losing a child, but that is about as far as this film goes with it. Sad.

The acting is pretty good all around. Jessica Biel goes for broke (she even executive produced the film) and gives a completely believable performance as the town doctor who has to deal with all kinds of crazy shenanigans from all angles. Jodelle Ferland, the creepy kid from Silent Hill, has a strange part as a kid with a speech impediment who chooses not to talk, but narrates the film. It was also nice to see that The Cigarette Smoking Man himself, William B. Davis, is alive and well as the town sheriff. Seeing him play a decent person for a change was a bit of a shock, but I enjoyed his performance.
Director Pascal Laugier, who directed the disturbing Martyrs a few years back, really pulled in the reigns here after his gross out torture porn film made him a household name among horror fans. He has a style that I can get in to and I like that he chooses to make movies that are about more than gore and violence. I really hope his career takes off and he gives Hollywood a dose of his twisted genius because I’d love to see what this guy could do with a bigger budget. I’m sure he would blow all our minds.

This review will be short due to my not wanting to reveal any spoilers, so in closing I will say that this is an interesting thriller that tries to do something different and falls on its face. It’s worth watching though, so give it a spin and decide if the direction it takes is your cup of tea. Unfortunately it was not for me.

2 out of 5

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