The Tall Man (movie)

the tall manBecause “The Short Man” doesn’t sound as intimidating. 

This review will have to be done delicately as not to spoil anything, should you decide to watch this 2012 thriller. To your delight, this means a short review.

It’s unclear why The Tall Man is so grossly overlooked when people talking about intense movies. In fact, I consider it to be one of the most underrated movies to come out in the last 10 years.

The movie opens up telling you that a series of disappearing children has caused much fear in the small town of Cold Rock. Jessica Beil stars as Julia, a local nurse who was married to a beloved (and now deceased) doctor. Cold Rock is a dreary former coal mining town and Julia is there trying to fill her husband’s shoes. As the local children continue to go missing, a legend forms around a figure known only as “The Tall Man”. Things get in to motion early when Julia wakes up to see a figure abducting her little boy, David. Was it the urban legend come to life? One thing is for certain, the surprises continue throughout the movie. I refuse to ruin any of them.

While the movie may not warrant any awards for acting, Biel’s performance should not go unrecognized. It juggles a complicated character and story line effectively. Samantha Ferris also gives a realistic portrayal of the poverty-stricken mother who is struggling with an abusive boyfriend (who knocks up her daughter). That may sound silly to you, but if you’ve done any social work, you’ll realize this isn’t far fetched at all. I’d also like to point out Jodelle Ferland, who plays this mother’s other daughter (the one NOT about to deliver her own step-brother). If you enjoy horror, you’ll recognize this face from Silent Hill and Case 39. In this, her character is a mute teen who desperately wants to be taken away from her dysfunctional environment. I really like this young actor, but she seems slightly limited. There is something genuine missing from her when she plays “hurt.”  I hope that she can break through this in time.

The script is not short of twists, but is shockingly void of plot holes. Two viewings in and I have not seen any. It feels as though they were able to tell the story, while successfully leaving out anything unnecessary.  As the characters shuffle through the plot, it all falls in place nicely at the end. Some may be bothered that there is a message that seems tacked on, but I would beg that the viewer think back over the entire story. It all poses a very interesting question about love being enough.

At the end of the day, The Tall Man may have suffered from promoting itself as a straight horror movie, which might disappoint those who prefer more juvenile horror flicks. It falls squarely in the thriller category. The draw may have been lacking due to the trailer not being able to share much. It really can’t without jeopardizing the surprises. It was ambiguous enough for there to be a rumor that it was a feature regarding the “Slenderman.” Still, if you run across this movie…no matter what your taste, I would highly recommend turning everything and tuning in to The Tall Man.

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