In The Tall Grass has its moments, but also feels like it not only overstays its welcome but doesn’t answer pertinent questions.

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In The Tall Grass has its moments, but also feels like it not only overstays its welcome but doesn’t answer pertinent questions.

Director(s) Vincenzo Natali
Screenplay By Vincenzo Natali
Date Released 10/4/2019
Genre(s) Horror
Who Is This For?
  • Those Who Like Small Cast Horror Films
  • People Who Enjoy A Supernatural Element To Their Horror
Where To Buy, Rent, or Stream? Netflix
Noted Cast
Cal Avery Whitted
Becky Laysla De Oliveira
Ross Patrick Wilson
Tobin Will Buie Jr.
Travis Harrison Gilbertson
Natalie Rachel Wilson

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Plot Summary/ Review

Cal and Becky were heading to San Diego until they stopped so Becky could vomit. For despite her being only three months from giving birth to a little girl, she still dealt with morning sickness. But, while Cal and Becky take a breather near the tall grass, they heard a boy and being the good samaritans they are, and fools, they searched for the boy.

Thus, they found themselves in the time absent maze where life, death, time, and so much more bends to the will of a mysterious rock. Also, perhaps the person who has touched it.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Considering Tobin touched the rock, why doesn’t that play a role in the ending?


At First, You’re Into It

When things begin, we have a vulnerable pregnant woman in Becky, Cal, who you can foresee dying because he wears glasses and seems expendable, and a creepy kid. That alone makes you think something crazy is going to happen. Then when you add in this kid maybe luring people in to have them sacrificed, or to have them be a part of this loop he is stuck in, things get sinister. Especially considering his father, Ross, is part of this and clearly is someone with a few screws loose.


After A Little More Than An Hour, You’ll Wonder When And How It Will End

But, after a certain point, you’ll feel that you’ve seen more than enough and the loop presented, it isn’t intriguing. In fact, because you don’t get to learn much about any of the characters, beyond where they were going and a handful of tidbits, you’ll slowly lose your investment in them. Almost to the point that you wouldn’t care if they all died as long as you learned what is trying to kill them, or convert them.

It Doesn’t Really Explain How Things Work And You’re Left With Your Assumptions

Which isn’t explained in In The Tall Grass. Rather, you get just enough visuals to fathom there are some supernatural forces at work, but nothing concrete. You can’t say they are aliens who crash-landed and need to lure in people to feed them or their idol. At most, you get a sense of the rock is but even with learning that there remains a lot of “How?” and “Why?” questions unanswered.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

While it is understood that no film should hold your hand and explain every last thing seen on screen, at the same time, leaving things to interpretation isn’t creating positive discussion. It’s more so creating frustration and while it may pique people’s interest at first, particularly those wondering if they may get it or if it is as bad as some say, it’ll make it so, in the long term, the film suffers.

Leading to why we’re giving In The Tall Grass the mixed label: It’s not a terrible film, it is just one that seems like it skimmed the main points of a larger story. If not the kind of movie which frustrates you so much that you feel pushed to read the book to get all the missing details. But, with In The Tall Grass not being alluring enough to buy or even borrow the source material, at best, this is just something to have in the background or watch when you have nothing else to do.


 [ninja_tables id=”24271″]

In The Tall Grass Ending Explained

Ross (Patrick Wilson) showing the effect of the rock on a person.
Ross (Patrick Wilson)

So, long before mankind was born, it appears that a rock hit Earth, and with it came some alien grass beings. The kind who live off the rock, which is actually a heart. One that demands blood, tears, or seemingly any human bodily fluid, to survive. Leading to it using people, and their need to help others, to create a cycle. One that either recruits people to kill, like it made Ross do, or sounds like Tobin calling for help, to draw people in.

Now, as for the characters in the movie? Here is when things get trippy. Tobin, his mother Natalie, and his dad Ross were drawn in by Travis calling out from the grass. Mind you, Travis, Becky’s ex, was drawn into the grass, initially, after Becky and Cal went missing for two months, and he went searching for them after seeing Cal’s car and finding Becky’s book by the side of the road. Thus leading you to understand time is not a real structure in the grass.

But, what the film doesn’t give you is the answer of what is the goal here? Especially since, in the film, we see characters dead, I’m talking no skin, just clothes, and bones, yet then they are alive again later. Well, based off us seeing below the heart rock, it seems the idea is for people to either touch the rock, and become one with it, or to be killed and as they sink beneath the surface, the rock draws from them at its roots – while they are still some semblance of alive.

Leading to how the movie ends: Ross, who touched the rock, went insane after what he saw. So, with thinking the rock speaks to him, or the followers of the rock who we don’t get to know what so ever, he decides to kill his wife Natalie, and then give the ultimatum for everyone to touch the rock or be hunted. No one decides to touch the rock, so he goes after them, and they do escape him – at first.

However, being that Cal, allegedly, according to Travis, has incestual feelings for Becky, he attempts to kill Travis to get him out of the way. Thus handicapping Becky, who is well along pregnant, and leading to Cal being murdered. Following him, we learn Travis is alive, and Becky, before she is killed, blinds Ross in one eye. Leaving only Ross, Tobin, and Travis.

Travis kills Ross, and Tobin watches as a stranger kills his dad, who murdered his mom, so the therapy he’ll need is crazy. But here comes the weird part. We’re led to believe by Ross that if you touch the rock, either you can’t leave or you won’t want to.

Now, when we first meet Tobin, he touched the rock and noted that’s how he gets around and easily finds everyone. Yet, he somehow is allowed to leave the grass, keep Cal and Becky from entering the grass, and be saved.

Leading to the need to wonder if the rock just uses one person at a time or, for the person who touched the rock, are they allowed to restart everyone’s first time in the grass at will? Either to convince them to touch the rock or just for their own kicks and giggles?

Is A Sequel Possible?

Yes and no. Yes, because there is always the chance Ginny, Becky’s daughter, may want to know about her father, and it could slip he is lost in a grassy area of Colarado. But, at the same time no for, unless they decide to elaborate whether the grass people were real, or just Ross causing hallucinations, then what would the point be?

Which, come to think about it, who is to say the Tobin we see, who touches the rock, isn’t Ross in a disguise? For, again, we have no idea what the limitations are of the grass and the powers the rock gives.

 [ninja_tables id=”24271″]

After A Little More Than An Hour, You’ll Wonder When And How It Will End - 69%
It Doesn’t Really Explain How Things Work And You’re Left With Your Assumptions - 65%
At First, You’re Into It - 80%


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One Comment

  1. Sounds to me like you’ve missed the plot.  The whole point of Stephen King stories is the scare.  The why is not as important. 

    The point in this story is that the rock, regardless of it’s origin, is a malevolent force.  The scare is that time works differently and gives the rock the ability to prey on its victims.  It uses this time-shifting to lure new victims in.  It doesn’t matter where this rock came from because it’s the struggle to fight it that is important.  The scene with the rock’s roots reveals much.  The roots are human.  It shows that the rock has been doing this for  a very, very long time.  It also tells us that the rock represents the insidious evil that is within mankind – always has been.  

    Also, the fact that the Bowlarama is in the midst of this field of tall grass suggests that the field has grown to engulf what used to be a town – the church was at the outskirts of the town.  That tells me that the field will continue to grow (slowly… insidiously) to devour more and more victims.

    I haven’t read the novella but I’ve heard it is has a more pessimistic ending.  The movie is more optimistic in that it allowed a brave soul to acknowledge and face the evil and nobly sacrifice himself to actually save his girlfriend and his unborn child.  Although the skeptic in me understands that Travis only helped his girlfriend, her brother and Tobin escape – for now – but the tall grass lives on.  Regardless, the point of this story is very relevant and important – the evil is here… and it is insidious

    There are many kinds of evil in our world and I don’t think King intended this to represent one particular evil.  But there is currently a malevolent force spreading through our world and is very obvious in America – hatred and anger growing insidiously.  It lures people in by making them think they are doing good – helping to save others, to save their country.  But they don’t really know what they’re getting into and simply become part of the spreading hatred; the more polarized the nation becomes, left and right, the deeper the roots of the evil force grow.

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