Keepin’ It Reel: “In the Tall Grass”

Cassidy McKnight, Staff Writer

Stephen King has done it again. As an undeniable master in all things horror, it was expected that this film would get the praise and criticism that it did. Stephen King is known for his novel-based films, such as “Carrie,” “IT” and “The Shining” in the 1970s and 1980s, all three of which gave King an impressive legacy of scaring people senseless. Though the majority of his fame was from a few decades ago, the recent movie remake of his popular book “IT,” divided into two separate films, brought King back into the spotlight for horror movie fanatics such as myself.

As a result of his return to pop culture, quite a few of his novels have been adapted into Netflix original films, such as “Gerald’s Game” or “1922.” After the success of these two movies, Netflix recently produced another fantastically horrific film called “In the Tall Grass.” The book was initially written by Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill, as a two-part novel in 2012. On Oct. 4, Netflix aired the film and as classic King-type horror movies would have it, the film follows the novel’s demented, grizzly and warped plot.

After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, siblings Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and Cal (Avery Whitted) venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas, and they soon discover there might be no way out and that something evil is lurking there. The two quickly lose each other inside the massive field and begin to panic. Along their confusing journey to find their way to each other and out of the demented grassy field, they come across others lost within, some human, and some things much more sinister and dark. Becky and Cal soon realize that this is no normal field and not all is what it seems.

This sounded like a fantastic plot to me and the trailer was even more of a reason to watch this Netflix Original. Not everyone thought the same way I did. The reaction to this movie adaption has been incredibly mixed and audiences have been divided as to whether the movie is worth watching to begin with. Many have criticized King’s latest film on social media for being too “long-winded” and have even stated that the plot was far too “confusing” and “hard to follow.” A lot of viewers took to Facebook and their social media platforms to explain how they could not understand a single scene from the movie.

Currently, the movie has a 5.6/10 rating on IMDb, and a score of 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. So, the press was not too nice to the latest addition to King’s legacy. But for those dedicated fans who’ve taken the time to read the novel that “In the Tall Grass” is based on, like myself, they appreciated King’s dark and twisted sense of time and reality and can make sense of what was going on in the film. Netflix was only slightly successful in their attempt to adapt another one of King’s novels into a movie.

All in all, this movie was not Stephen King’s best work in my opinion, but it was a fairly good film. I enjoyed the twisted sense of time that was embedded in the plot and the feeling of “What did I just watch?” when the credits rolled. This is a film that takes time and critical thinking to understand, but once you do, it’s easy to pick out and understand the more confusing parts of the story. With the interesting graphic portrayals of some of the book scenes and the mediocre acting involved, I rate “In the Tall Grass” a 5/10 for what I believe is the only way you could ever portray such a confusing novel on screen. It’s worth a watch, especially if you are into horror, mysteries or even a little time travel, but just remember that not everything is as it seems.