The horror director talks Holliston, Hatchet III, and his future in horror
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The new horror, The Tall Man, stars Jessica Biel as Julia Denning, a young mother determined to find the person who kidnapped her son. As the movie progresses, the townspeople speak of a myth called The Tall Man and insist that he is responsible. After her child is taken right in front of her, Julia battles to unravel the mystery and get her son back.
After a stressful day, Julia and her live-in nanny have a little too much to drink and Julia wobbles off to bed. She is startled by a disturbance downstairs and discovers her nanny tied-up and bloodied in the kitchen. Realizing that the situation is a lot worse than she imagined, Julia rushes to her son's bedroom only to find that he isn't there. When she returns to the nanny to find out what happened, The Tall Man appears with her child and flees.
Determined to stop him, Julia chases after him but comes up empty handed and badly hurt. Lt Dodd (Stepehn McHattie) finds her in the middle of the road and takes her back to the local diner where things only become weirder. While there, Julia realizes that the people that surround her may actually be her enemy.
The Tall Man is NOT a horror movie, despite what the previews and descriptions would lead you to believe. The film is a mystery that isn't all too mysterious and the big "twist" is revealed too soon, causing the audience to want to stop watching before the movie's end. What could have been an awesome horror that utilized a creepy legend fell short as it tried to be too clever and flat-lined all the way to the anti-climactic ending.
Biel, whom is perfectly suited for the horror genre following her role in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, was the wrong choice to play the lead. Yes, she is gorgeous (not in this film) and she can act (at times); however, she is completely unbelievable as a mother of a young child. I suppose that's what the director was going for considering the story but, it was hard to believe any of her actions throughout the movie.
Although I couldn't see Biel as a mother, the scenes where her character chases after the person who took her child were exciting, intense, and very real. It was refreshing to see Biel get gritty and dirty as she actually fought her attacker as oppose to a weak character that can barely stand up straight.
Her character had me on the fence because at first, she was one that you could like and feel for but after the reveal, she became a person you didn't really know how to feel about. Her actions in the film were very questionable and completely unlike the horror heroine genre fans are used to--which was the point. Just because the director did something intentionally doesn't mean I have to like it.
It felt as though the director, Pascal Laughier (Martyrs), was trying too hard to recreate the shocking ending of The Sixth Sense but did it way too early on in the film. When the big reveal came, it was very easy to predict what was going on, what was to happen next, and who the "bad guy" truly was.
Yes, Laughier created a creepy atmosphere, especially leading up to the reveal; it just made nothing that came after it have an effect on me. I kept waiting for something bigger to happen but I knew that the film had already given me my answer and nothing more mysterious was to come. Boring.
The film revolves around the idea of stealing children from poor homes and giving them to families of better lifestyles. The idea was a fun one and it was definitely different to see that the monster of the film wasn't actually a monster all all. At least, not the typical monsters horror fans are used to seeing. All of the themes and messages of the film were interesting ones but the way in which they were executed were done very poorly.
Everything happened too quickly for my liking and the audience didn't get to know any of the characters other than Julia. Of the one character we followed most, we barely knew much about her or why she was doing what she was doing, either. Laughier didn't utilize Mchattie's talents to his fullest and casually used him in bit scenarios sprinkled throughout. Big mistake. His lack of development made him seem completely pointless.
Laughier definitely wanted to make people talk and discuss the themes of this film afterward but I wouldn't say that the movie was done well enough to evoke that discussion (obviously, I'm going to discuss it for the sake of the review).The film questioned whether or not biological parents should have the right to keep their children or if they should be placed in homes more suitable. The answers are obvious; clearly, a kid in a poor home should be taken out of it but taken in a legal way. Although, the system sucks and would fail at that.
The Tall Man had an interesting set up and an intriguing idea for a horror film but it tried being too deep, revealing too much too soon and not making up for it with anything special in the end. The poor script made decent actors such as Biel, McHattie, and Jodelle Ferland non-dimensional and fall flat. The film doesn't have to be completely skipped because it was a decent flick up until the big reveal; however, I would wait for this one to come out on Netflix before spending the big bucks to rent it on VOD.
As long as you go into the movie knowing that it will take you to the brink of a cinematic orgasm only to stop you completely in your tracks and leave you with a sad case of blue balls--you'll be fine.
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