My press contact for Image Entertainment’s “The Tall Man” couldn’t be more correct. It’s the sort of film you come away from either really liking or really hating. I enjoyed the movie and found it to be a unique little thriller.
A nurse (Jessica Biel) takes over the duties of her deceased husband in a small mining town. Her son (Jakob Davies) is kidnapped and she believes it’s the work of the Tall Man. Local legends tell of a man who comes out of the woods and abducts their children. Can the citizens track down the abductor before he strikes again?
Director / writer Pascal Laugier put together a smart indie thriller that looks like a slasher / torture porn movie from the outside but upon closer examination is much more intricate and elaborate. It’s a great movie that keeps the viewer wondering what’s happening all the way to the end.
Jessica Biel gives a convincing performance as the nurse and single-mother of missing child David. This is a role like none I’ve ever seen her in. Biel’s no longer the teen she was in “7th Heaven.” It’s hard to wipe the memory of her as Mary Camden from your mind and accept her in the role of a mother and nurse but she pulls it off quite well.
Jodelle Ferland (“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” “Silent Hill”) plays a girl named Jenny who claims to have seen the Tall Man. She does an impressive job of portraying her as a mute. Ferland displays different emotions with just the use of her facial expressions which can be hard for any actor.
The high-definition transfer of the movie gives audiences a clean picture which thoroughly captures the gloomy ghost town it takes place in. The 5.1 surround mix lends to the atmospheric flavor you’d expect from a thriller / slasher film. The soundtrack startles you when it needs to and all the creepy sounds are here to make your skin crawl just the way horror fans like it.
There are a few special features but not the ones I was looking for. The story leaves one with questions you would love to hear director Pascal Laugier address through an audio commentary or featurette. Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want. It does contain visual concepts, deleted scenes, and a trailer.
“The Tall Man” takes the familiar elements of mainstream thrillers and the genre horror and slasher films we all love and blends them together to serve up an enthralling film that will leave you muttering, “What’s going on?” to yourself. There are some predictable moments, but the end justifies the means in this situation. Just don’t buy the Blu-ray version hoping for answers or insight into the story or characters’ motivations. I’m afraid viewers are left on their own to make of those what they will.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
DVD Review: “Shuffle”
Blu-ray Review: “Lovely Molly”
Blu-ray Review: “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”