Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Tall Man (2012)

Jessica Biel can actually act a bit. Who wouldda thunk?

Samantha Ferris Diamond White
Samantha Ferris plays a mum
whose boyfriend beds her daughter too.
At a glance:
The Tall Man (2012) was written and directed by the same fella behind Martyrs (2008), so that made me put it on the watch list. This Pascal Laugier guy must be like the classier French version of M. Night Shyamalan, considerin how much he likes to do movies with one big central twist. Now unlike movies like The Village (2004) or The Sixth Sense (1999), the enjoyment of Laugier's films do not pivot on the incredulity of the twist. Dissociatin this story from Slender Man mythos, Laugier introduces us to several characters in a rundown white trash town blighted by missin children, firin up what appears to be a standard slasher horror, only for it to simmer down into some sort of philosophical parentin, socioeconomic dilemma. It's in no danger of goin down as ground-breakin material but it does feature Jessica Biel in what must be her most demandin dramatic role since the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) days when all she needed to do was walk around in a sweaty, see-through top.
Bad news on the doorstep:
M NIGHT SHYAMALANThankfully avoidin the alien invasion route (e.g. The Tommyknockers, 1993 or Dreamcatcher, 2003) which would've been very predictable and annoyin, this story is well-paced and crafted to play with your expectations. Variety's Geoff Berkshire summarised well: "Welcome echoes of the work of Stephen King and TV's The X-Files increase suspicion that something supernatural is afoot, and Laugier keeps teasing that possibility until the very end" but concludes that horror fans lookin for some old-fashioned scares are likely to feel cheated from the movie. The French - trust them to screw it up! Ha.
Perennial wonderment:
If you've decided you've read too much already and don't wanna bother with the movie, just click on this link to a Ben Affleck movie and the twist will dawn upon you...
Reminds me of:
The Village (2004) but that's not the twist, don't worry.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
All is not lost. This can make a good date movie and delightful conversation fodder later. You're likely to find this only on DVD or VOD now, since it only had a token theatrical release.★★

Bonus material:
William B. Davis, the Cancer Man on TV's X-Files, has a small role in The Tall Man (2012).