Welcome back to the Macabre Movie Mausoleum, little ones. For this second installment, Dr. AzarRising's got a quite a different offering than our previous movie morsel. Will it be as good, or even better than our first and give us a perfect rating? Or will we begin a negative streak with a movie of diminishing quality? Read on, little tombstones, to find out.
“The Tall Man” (2012)
Director: Pascal Laugier
Stars: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, and William B. Davis
The title reminded me of 'The Thin Man' by Dashiell Hammett, a great novel turned into a great movie franchise. I hadn't expected this to be anything like that, but that miniscule connection was all it took for me to watch this movie.
Makes me wish I had higher standards for my Macabre Movie Mausoleum . The movie stars Jessica Biel, the oldest daughter from 7th Heaven, and a guy who looks like the robot from Aliens. Jessica Biel is a pretty face, but never the most talented of actresses. While I never would have considered her a bad one, this movie forces me to reconsider that assesment.
Even worse for us, her acting wasn't the only thing wrong with the movie. It opens with one scene, but then (to borrow a phrase from comedian Dane Cook) they'Tarantino-ed it' back to the beginning of the story (meaning the movie flashbacks to show us how the story got to that point). The issue with this is that the scene was simply Biel being treated by a nurse. These type of setup scenes are supposed to create an air of suspense, but it fails here. And such a big fail at the beginning of the movie, does not bode well for the rest of it.
The plot revolves around a former mining town in Pennsylvania that is now experiencing a rash of kidnappings. The perpetrator remains elusive (obviously, or the this would be a short movie, which in hindsight wouldn't have been a bad thing) and only fleeting glimpses of him cause the townspeople to refer to him as The Tall Man (hey title reference!). Jessica Biel has a son who is quickly added to the kidnapped kid list, leading to what we think is her investigating the Tall Man. Of course because this is a movie, things don't go as planned, and a conspiracy among the townsfolk is revealed that turns the movie on it's head. Just, not in a good way.
The movie quickly turns from a thriller horror about missing kids and a possibly supernatural antagonist into a political commentary about the lives of children living in impoverished neighborhoods. You read that right. The movie with a poster that prominently features a menacing hooded figure, that was marketed as a thriller, and features the tagline "Fear takes a new shape" which fills the mind with images of some sort of shape-shifting, kid-stealing, cloak-wearing lunatic terrorizing a town turns out to be a political commentary. If that wasn't disappointing enough, the movie fails to even successfully deliver on that front.
After that glowing review, was there ever a doubt? The movie fails on all fronts. It wasn't entertaining in any form, the acting was poor, and the plot was nonsensical and ill-conceived. I knew this wasn't going to be a great movie, but I couldn't have predicted how bad this movie truly was. Steer clear and just enjoy the baby in a popcorn costume.