Netflix Stephen King Sci-Fi Horror Melts Your Brain With Terror And Violence

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

in the tall grass

The 2019 Canadian supernatural horror drama In the Tall Grass is streaming on Netflix. Directed by Vincenzo Natali, the movie is based on the 2012 short story by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. The cast includes Laysla De Oliveira as Becky, Avery Whitted as Cal, Will Buie Jr. as Tobin, Patrick Wilson as Ross, Harrison Gilbertson as Travis, and Rachel Wilson as Natalie.

Lost In The Tall Grass

in the tall grass

In The Tall Grass begins with siblings Becky and Cal DeMuth traveling to San Diego, where Becky plans to give her baby up for adoption. During a stop, they hear the cries for help of a young boy named Tobin from within a dense field of tall grass.  Concerned, they enter the grass, only to become disoriented and separated as the space defies normal boundaries.

Violence Erupts

in the tall grass

They attempt to leave but find themselves unable to locate the road. Becky meets Tobin’s father, Ross, who warns her to stay close, but she loses sight of him. Meanwhile, Cal talks to Tobin, who claims the grass doesn’t move dead things and ominously predicts Becky’s demise. When Tobin leads Cal to a rock and urges him to touch it, a ghostly presence attacks.

Travis Arrives

Travis, the father of Becky’s unborn child, arrives to search for the missing siblings. However, he also gets caught in the tall grass where everything is not as it seems.

Tobin later arrives at a church with his family, where they hear Travis calling out from the grass. As they search, they, too, become separated. Meanwhile, Becky and Cal reunite with Travis, who reveals they’ve been missing for two months.

Director Vincenzo Natali effectively builds tension at the beginning of In the Tall Grass, drawing viewers into the siblings’ escalating panic as they try to make sense of their bizarre situation.

He creatively portrays their predicament without repetitive visuals, using swirling camera movements to convey their restricted freedom.

Critics Weren’t Impressed

However, viewers’ interest begins to wane as In the Tall Grass progresses. The complex plot turns a spooky tale into a confusing mess with awkward dialogue.

The cast, mostly unknown actors aside from Patrick Wilson’s intense performance as a desperate father, fails to sell the sibling relationship. While some thrilling moments in the final act may please horror fans, they’re overshadowed by confusion.

As a result, In the Tall Grass received mixed reviews from audiences. While some praised its eerie atmosphere and psychological tension, others found fault with its pacing and narrative coherence. Critics had a similarly divided response.

Some lauded its innovative premise and effective scares, while others criticized its lack of character development and reliance on horror clichés.

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In comparison to other Stephen King adaptations, In the Tall Grass was seen as less impressive than It: Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep, which were both well-received by critics and audiences.

The film’s poor reception was attributed to its failure to deliver on the scares, making it a less memorable entry in the King adaptation series of projects.

In the Tall Grass debuted globally at the 2019 Fantastic Fest on September 20, 2019. It subsequently became available for streaming on Netflix starting October 4, 2019.

While the movie may not have been a blockbuster success, its unique premise and collaboration between acclaimed horror authors made it a noteworthy addition to the genre.