September 24, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Tall Man'

The Tall Man (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

In 2008 director Pascal Laugier unleashed the devastating Martyrs on an unsuspecting public. This was one film that once you have watched you won’t soon forget; it’s brutal and heartbreaking, and quite excellent. Now, four years on and he is back with his English language debut, The Tall Man, which might not pack the same visceral punch as its predecessor, but it is still no less powerful in its own right.

The secluded town of Cold Rock is a town that has seen better days, it is also one that is haunted by a local legend; that of the Tall Man. He’s a mysterious figure that abducts children, who are then never seen again. The townsfolk have seemingly accepted this, although they still live in fear of his presence.

Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) is the town’s nurse who, along with her son, lives alone after the death of her husband. Her husband was highly respected in Cold Rock, and Julia finds it hard to follow in his footsteps. Things only get a lot harder for Julia when her son is taken by the Tall Man. Not one to take this laying down, Julia sets about finding her son and getting to the bottom of the legend of the Tall Man.

That’s as much as I want to say about this movie in terms of its plot. It is often said that some movies benefit from going in knowing as little as possible about the story. That is most certainly the case with this film; what I have revealed is pretty much what has been released via the trailers and other such promotional material. What we do have is a meticulously plotted horror/thriller that will keep you gripped until the very end. Very much like Martyrs, Laugier keeps you guessing.

Even with the attachment of Jessica Biel, who also serves as Executive Producer, Laugier has delivered a film that doesn’t pander to the mainstream, where this has often been the case with foreign directors making their first English language film. The Tall Man is a dark and foreboding film; it’s uncomfortable to watch and the air of fear is prevalent throughout.

To look at, the film is gorgeous, the setting is wonderful with Cold Rock nestled away in the trees and mountains, and the cinematography is spot on. Add into this some terrific performances, especially from Biel, and you have yourself a really good movie. Don’t go into this expecting another Martyrs, because you won’t get it. You will get a film though that sticks in the mind, as Martyrs did, and packs a punch on a totally different level.

Go into The Tall Man with an open mind and be prepared for it to play with your expectations, whilst at the same time delivering a terrific and dark film. 

Special features on the Blu-ray release are a Visual Concepts piece, a deleted scene and trailer.

The Tall Man hits Blu-ray and DVD from Image Entertainment on September 25th.

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