The Tall Man (2012)
There is something magical about Jessica Biel. Normally, men shy away from a woman that could beat them to a bloody pulp. Yes, she has a great sack of potatoes and a decent can of tomatoes, but sometimes the camera’s lens will lead us to wonder if she’s hiding a couple biscuits in the breadbasket.
I mean, to land a guy like Timberlake, her coffee farts must smell like cake vodka. I consider myself a realist, so I can honestly say I think she would beat me up in a straight fight… I also think I might enjoy every minute of it.
Settling for this pic after searching “sadomasicism.” I want to see no more.
Her acting chops may never carry her to leading lady status, but was enough to carry Pascal Laugier’s plot twisting spook story thriller, The Tall Man.
The Tall Man is centered in the isolated town of Cold Rock, where rumors of a monstrous “Tall Man” have the entire town on edge. Over the years enough children have been abducted by this mysterious folk legend that the government found it fit to send one lonely FBI agent to investigate (Stephen McHattie). While the numbers continue to pile up, it doesn’t occur to the residents with children to move. Instead they stay and risk having their children kidnapped. Which is exactly what happens to David, right from under Julia Denning’s nose. (Biel)
Except, Julia has a bit of fight in her and refuses to lose David, setting forth a course of events that unveil the mythical “Tall Man”.
“Wait! Don’t turn off this movie yet!”
I must admit, I’m not drawn to the horror/thriller genre anymore. What once was a simple case of unoriginal garbage flooding the market has turned into cheap scare tactic mind games aimed to trick the audience, even an audience that is expecting it. I don’t want to guess who the bad guy is, and I don’t want you to try to trick me. I simply want you to tell me who it is and show me an entertaining story. Mixing the “spooky” horror element with a thriller was once groundbreaking, and now has become a mockery of plot twists we’ve already seen one hundred times.
On the other hand, I DO respect the turn in the horror genre to capture more of the psychological terror. Recent films like The Cabin in the Woods and the Paranormal Activities are pulling me back in with stories I find hard to turn off once I’ve started. I began watching The Tall Man with severely low expectations. As expected a series of plot twists played out that nearly had me giving up on the rest of the movie. I held on, and was rewarded with some surprisingly entertaining twists. It sparked a curiosity to see how it all plays out in the end.
So in short, I’m toasting the fact that I watched the entire movie and rather enjoyed it for a moment between all the plot twists.
…and you’ll rarely be disappointed.
On the same platform as my toast comes the 2nd beer. I felt like Pascal Laugier shared my disgust at the unoriginal developments of the majority of these films, but the problem was he disguised this movie as one of them TOO well. Most people would tire of it when things start unraveling exactly as we expected, and not witness the entertaining twists that follow. It feels a little like the moment you see the sirens behind you on the highway, but as you scramble to hide your weed and pull over, the cop car passes you and you’re left to wonder if you inadvertently just admitted guilt. Right?
The cinematography was entertaining, but a bit too cookie cutter, and fit the mold of exactly what you would expect. Shot pretty much entirely at night, might as well throw in some rain… OK, running through the woods at night in the rain. Throw in an undefeatable villain and there you go… I just described the setting of 136 movies of the last decade. I’m surprised there wasn’t a Biel wet T-shirt shot. That might’ve helped us overlook the generic setting a bit.
Unwarranted confessions and stupid girls. Yes, more cookie cutter horror movie cliches. To help explain the plot to the audience the “bad guy” feels compelled to unburden themself with a full outright confession of everything they’ve done for no reason. Why bother? Instead of treating the audience like we are incapable of cognitive thought, they just spell it out for us. I’d appreciate a more creative way of delivering the plot.
Then there’s the countless times that Biel had the tactical advantage and blew it faster than a teenage boy backstage at a fashion show. She comes off as a strong, relentless lead, yet still encompasses all the stupidity from a slasher flick.
Spoiler Alert: The end threw me through a loop with a preachy “political” message on the state of the Country as if it would have Obama’s voice approving this message before the credits. Don’t go throwing in a Gone Baby Gone-type dilemma in a horror movie… Then I got thinking, this WASN‘T a horror movie was it? Wait, what the hell was this?
I’m a bit confused what genre this movie falls under. It had some entertaining twists, and its share of predictable twists. If you have a thing for Biel, see it. The movie’s success is dependent on the number of dudes that want to watch Biel run around for about 140 minutes.
Take a Drink: anytime Biel has tactical advantage and blows it with typical horror movie diarrhea
Take a Drink:anytime someone yells “DAVID“
Take a Drink: for any cookie cutter horror movie cliches
Take a Drink: for every plot twist
Do a Shot:for every unpredicted plot twist