Friday, October 4, 2019

whispering grass.

Been an odd sort of week here at Unwell Towers so took a day out today to recharge and ended up watching something brand spanking new for the whole 31 days of horror thing.

Apologies for the brevity of the review but it's Friday night and I'd like you all to imagine I have a life.

In The Tall Grass (2019).
Dir: Vincenzo Natali.
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr. and Rachel Wilson.

"Don't you want to touch the rock?"

Big-binned Cal DeMuth (The Vanishing of Sidney Hall's Whitted - looking for all the world like the terrifying lovechild of Jon Cryer and John Favreau) and his bun in the ovened baby sister Becky (De Oliveira, who was in iZombie once) are traveling to San Fransisco in order to give her baby to a childless couple as she feels too young and ill-prepared for parenthood since her lank haired beau Travis (Picnic at Hanging Rock's Gilbertson) dumped her due to commitment issues and an argument over who got custody of the shampoo.

Stopping on a lonely Midwestern road to allow Becky to vomit (as pregnant ladies are known to do) she's shocked to hear a small boy screaming for help in the distance.

The cries seem to be coming from a huge field of tall overgrown grass next to the road.

Well obviously they're coming from his mouth but you know what I mean.

Cal makes his way into the grass to see if he can help with Becky soon following  but soon lose sight of each other as they move ever deeper into the field.

"You ain't seen me right?"

Jumping and shouting for a bit in the hope of re-uniting with his sister Cal soon comes across (not literally, I don't even think Netflix would have the balls for that) the helpless boy, covered in snottery shite, crying and with a haircut that'd make Dario Argento balk.

Tobin (Will Buie Jr. best known as Finn Sawyer from Disney's Bunk'd) - for that's his name - explains that he got lost in the grass whilst chasing his dog and that his parents Natalie (Rachel Wilson, who played Tina in the 1991 TV version of Marvel's Power Pack) and Ross (Ed Warren himself, the scenery destroying Patrick Wilson) are also lost somewhere within the grass after coming to his aid.

But being a Stephen King adaptation he relays all this information in a very sinister manner.

Cue more scenes of Cal jumping up and down whilst shouting for his sister before stumbling across a dead dog then jumping and shouting a wee bit more.

Realising that although this will no doubt keep the cast fit, it's not really going to hold the viewers attention for 90 minutes, Becky soon finds Tobin's dad Ross who comes across as so nice and caring you'd be surprised if anyone but him ended up as the mad mental protagonist and after a quick introduction the pair head off to find everyone else.

Meanwhile Cal has been taken into a clearing in order for Torbin to show him a massive, rune covered rock he's found that, if you touch it grants you mystical powers of foresight or something but Cal's touchy feely session is cut short when he hears his sisters screams.

"Leaf me alone!"

There's no time to mourn Becky tho' as we're off to meet the ex, Travis who's currently driving cross country with a picture of his girl glued to his dashboard.

It's not long before he too is lost in the long grass where it soon becomes apparent that not only does all that green stuff harness a dark power capable of bending time and space but that the scriptwriters have spent way too much time reading (and literally copying) HP Lovecraft's The Festival whilst skipping any writing classes that deal with the intricacies of having a time travel plot.....

Will Travis be re-united with his ex-girlfriend?

And will she be dead or alive when he is?

Will previously nice but intense dad Ross go full mental Christian zealot renta-villain with hitherto unseen super strength that enables him to crush his wifes head like a (badly rendered CGI) melon?

Will Cal go from geeky big brother to sister shagging obsessed murder bitch for no other reason than 'just because' and will this plot thread get ignored at the movies end so as to wrap everything up as neatly as possible?

go on, guess.

"Look at the dog!"
Taking as it's basis the horror short written by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill that was originally published in Esquire magazine back in 2012, Vincenzo Natali's screenplay stretches the genuinely scary short story to feature length by adding shedloads of CGI birds and (grass) blades, an incest subplots, naked men with freshly mowed grass faces and a bowling trip before making the originally unseen ex-boyfriend the hero and neatly wrapping everything up in a junior Steven Moffatt style coda that's as infuriating as it is cloying.

"Can you smell petrol?"

It's almost as if Natali loved the original story so much he just didn't know when to stop, adding more and more increasingly bizarre side notes and twists to what is fundamentally a basic scare story in The Twilight Zone vein until it almost collapses under the weight of its own absurdity.

That's not to say it isn't enjoyable in its own - very - silly way because it is.

Unfortunately tho' it's just not scary.

Unless you suffer from Agrostophobia obviously.*

*Or even maybe Genuphobia at a push.

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