Monday, August 13, 2012

The Tall Man (2012): (And No, Not The One From Phantasm!)

Review by Marie Robinson

Greetings, grim readers! Today I review for you a brand spankin’ new movie called The Tall Man. As you all know, it is directed by Pascal Laugier, famous for Martyrs and House of Voices. I am a jerk and haven’t seen either of these (don’t hurt me, Christine), but I have seen his newest contribution to the genre!

The movie is set in a small, impoverished town called Cold Rock, Washington; a town that holds a local legend close to its broken heart. Folk whisper of a stranger called the Tall Man. Few have seen him—a towering, shrouded figure—but all have felt his sinister touch. The Tall Man is notorious for stealing Cold Rock’s children.

Jessica Biel stars as Julia Dunning, a woman who has been acting as the town nurse since the death of the local doctor—her husband. The townspeople view her kindly, and she is particularly helpful to the mother of a broken family and her daughter, Jenny, played by Jodelle Ferland; a young lady who has already established an impressive horror resume with roles in movies such as Silent Hill, Cabin in the Woods, and Tideland (not horror, I know, but I had to give a shout-out to one of my favorite directors, Terry Gilliam!). Julia provides some much needed talk therapy to Jenny, who refuses to speak and communicates by writing on the pages of journals. Jenny claims to be one of the few who have seen the Tall Man.

Julia lives with a little boy named David (ADORABLE child actor Jakob Davies, who is getting a good start on his horror career having been featured in an episode of R.L. Stines’s The Haunting Hour and Supernatural) and a young woman named Christine (Eve Harlow). We assume these to be her children, but it is never really confirmed—whatever they are, they mean a lot to her and, naturally, she loses her shit when she comes home to find Christine bloody and gagged and David missing. She darts out of the house in pursuit of the alleged Tall Man, and it doesn’t take long for this film to get scary and strange.

The Tall Man does an excellent job of creating tone; both the cinematography and the score are strong and dramatic. You get a real feel for this somber fictional town, and the actors who define the various characters that fill it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this film—again, I’ve never seen another Pascal Laugier, and to be honest, I was kind of expecting it to be bad after seeing Jessica Biel’s face on the cover. She may not have wowed me before but she did a fine job with the complex character she was given in The Tall Man.

Even if I did have the slightest inkling on what was going to happen next while watching this movie, that was all instantly dashed. As opposed to the big shocking twist coming at the end, it happens thirty minutes into the film. Oh, but they’re not done with you there, from that point on, your jaw just keeps on dropping. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but this film will take you by surprise. You may not be satisfied by the ending (I’m not really sure how I felt at the end of it all) but you can’t help but give it a brief applause for being surprisingly fresh and original.

The Tall Man will receive a limited theatre release on August 31st and hit video stores September 25th.


Franco Macabro said...

I haven't seen The Tall Man, but Pascal Laugier's Martyr's is one of the most shocking, violent and gory films I've ever seen. It's also very symbolic, it speaks about how religion works on peoples minds and how it can affect their lives and that of those who follow...highly recommend it! It looks to me like this new one touches upon similar themes? Or am I wrong?

Great review, looking forward to checking this one out, last time I followed a suggestion from Fascination with Fear I ended up seeing this ultra interesting movie called 'The Dark' whose themes i enjoyed very much.

Christine Hadden said...

I think you're spot-on about Martyrs, and I can't wait for Marie to see it (hint hint!)

And I'm so glad you liked The Dark! I think it's an under-appreciated spooky gem that more people need to discover!

Marie Robinson said...

I promise to see both Martyrs and the Dark (which I haven't heard of until this moment)!

Christine Hadden said...

Attention JBH: No, I am not publishing your gibberish. That's why I love MODERATING AND APPROVING COMMENTS.
Get a life, would you?

Anonymous said...

It's a really good movie