The Tall Man (2012) Directed by: Pascal Laugier. Stars: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, and William B. Davis. Verdict: SUCKS. I love a good movie about an urban legend. They don’t have to be the best made movies, but as long as they’re fun, throw in a good twist on it and feature some tense, scary moments I’ll be down with this. The Tall Man started out promising enough, but then it quickly started to suck. This movie is awful and here’s why:
In a small downtrodden town, the poor inhabitants are taunted by the constant kidnapping of their children. It’s been blamed on the local legend of the tall man (much like slender man legend) who comes to take the children who never resurface. Jessica Biel plays Julia, the town pediatrician and a widow, who becomes the latest victim of the serial kidnappings. Up until this point there’s been a tense feeling with an enigmatic mood to the old mining town and the people who live there. As soon as Julia realizes her boy has been taken from her a long chase sequence ensues of her desperately trying to catch up to get him back. The scene is intense and scary. The townspeople seemed like there was something very fishy afoot and I wanted to know what was their deal. I was so on board to see where this was heading. And then everything changed…
I won’t spare on the spoilers here. If you really want to find out what happens yourself go watch it on Netflix Instant and then come back here to read my bitching. You’re not missing much though.
…so the story quickly turns on its head when you realize Julia isn’t so much the victim in this scenario. She might just be the kidnapper that this town has been afraid of all this time. And that boy she was chasing after? He was being rescued by his mother who realized Julia had him locked up in her house. At this point I was intrigued. What the hell was happening? Is Julie a complete psycho? Is she working with the tall man or was that just a cover up for everything else?
Nope, turns out she is kidnapping these children so that she can take them to the nearest city and sell them to rich people who will give them everything their poor parents can’t. Uh okay, so unless you’re rich enough to send your kids to private piano lessons or live in a fancy penthouse, you shouldn’t have children? Rich families don’t have issues? Okay, right.
Not only was this an incredibly lame way for the plot to turn, but the director (who also wrote the script) is so self-righteous about his concept it is ridiculous. Julia ends up in jail and gives a long diatribe to one of the mothers who’s child she kidnapped about how her and her husband (who actually faked his death so he could secretly transport the children to the city – what?) tried so hard to work with the system to get these poor kids a better life but the government just didn’t care and were too slow. Maybe the government just didn’t want to kidnap kids from the parents who loved them and were doing their best in the shitty economy of their small town? This concept was excruciating and sitting there watching Julia sit there acting like a saint made my eyes almost roll out of my head.
Of course, this is the same director who made Martyrs, another movie with a spectacular first half that turns itself completely on its head to almost be a completely different movie for the second half. At least Martyrs‘ second half is divisive where some like it, others hate it, but almost everyone has something interesting to say about it. The ending to The Tall Man just leaves you bored, disgusted, and annoyed most of all.
The Tall Man sucks because it could have been awesome if it followed through on where you think it might be heading up to the climax before veering off into bull shit. The concept comes from a freaky urban legend that deserves a fun horror flick made about it (have you played Slender? That simplistic game is scary as hell and not that much even happens) not some hack movie trying to draw people in with that idea and delivering some melodramatic farce.