Cold Rock, U.S.A. Children have gone missing over the years leaving neither a clue nor a witness. Superstitious locals talk of The Tall Man, a legendary, mysterious dark figure who takes children away never to be seen again.
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Three years ago, if you had told me Pascal Laugier was going to follow up "Martyrs" - an undeniably shocking and brutal horror film - with a movie that felt like a Monster of the Week episode of "The X-Files" crossed with a late 90's survival-horror video game...I would have never believed you. The ending of "Martyrs" felt like a revelation; the conclusion here is merely preposterous. I have to admit disappointment.
Tight and focused execution on Laugier's part but ultimately "The Tall Man" is not as great as the story and the director's reputation would lead you to believe. The fact that it is not a horror film sits very well, as it was refreshing for it to develop more into a gritty drama that puts many truths about America (and the Western world) on display. Interesting, but not fantastic. Jessica Biel was surprisingly good.
An interesting fairy tale. Laugier's leit-motifs (e.g. deranged women, innocent children abused by grown ups, underground spaces as metaphors for the subconscious), not forgetting his stylistic trademarks (e.g. plot twists) are not amiss. After "Martyrs", I was expecting another gore fest, but Jessica Biell's role as star/ producer likely forced Laugier to tame his sick imagination. The real horror? White trash.
What started out as cheap Netflix Instant horror fodder ended up a fairly incendiary if flawed sociological experiment. Better than expected, and a nice turn from the ineffectively weathered beauty Biel.
A huge disappointment after the power and originality of Laugier's MARTYRS. The film moves at a snail-like pace and the plot is far too implausible and muddled to get an audience caring. Moreover, there is something deeply unsettling about the politics of the film, which essentially sees poverty as incurable and the only way to save children of poor families is to steal them away to the middle classes.
Marketed as horror, but really a thriller. Is Laugier's hallmark to employ a dramatic shift in tone that brings the viewer out of a horror film and into a very different one? Subverting audience expectations could be a really powerful tool if expertly employed. However, Tall Man and Martyrs' bigger ideas are tenuously held together. A poorly thought-out comment on classism, ethics of third world adoption, &tc.
One of those films that's frustrating because you can't really talk about it without spoiling it--and the spoilers, or the places where the film ends up in the third act are quite disappointing. At the same time, I really admired the craft in this film while I was watching it, and the care put into the twists and turns--the story's told with conviction, I'm just not sure I wanted to be told this particular story.