When I saw the cast for this included Samantha Ferris (Ellen from Supernatural) and William B Davis (Cancer Man from The X- Files) my interest was immediately piqued. This film has the same sort of spooky, rainy atmosphere of an early X-Files episode. It’s serious, creepy, it twists and turns, and exudes a sombre mood. For a different type of horror experience, I’d recommend it.
A pale, washed out Jessica Biel (that’s my way of saying any of you hoping for a hot Jessica Biel in a skimpy tank top won’t find her here) is a nurse in the rundown town of Cold Creek, Washington. Since the mine closed, the inhabitants have fallen further into poverty. It’s a dying town, made painfully obvious by the dull, grey colours and tones this film is shot in. Biel’s husband, the respected town doctor, passed away some years back, and the residents aren’t too supportive of his widow. Why? We don’t know. She lives with her son and nanny in a big house by the woods. Apart from the economic problems, this town is suffering from an epidemic of missing children.
Eighteen or so kids have disappeared. The townsfolk whisper about The Tall Man, a ghost story about a monster who kidnaps children, often in broad daylight. What’s even weirder than all these disappearances is the lack of concern by the greater world. Why are there no news reporters in town? Sure Cold Creek looks like it’s in the back arse of nowhere – picture the landscape of the horror movie Wrong Turn. It’s surrounded by woods, completely isolated from the outside world. But wouldn’t something this major make national news?
The nightmare of the missing children comes right to Biel’s door. Her son is kidnapped from his own bed and she gives chase. She is impressive as the protective mother. When a hooded man invades her home, ties up her nanny and takes off with her son, she follows him on to the road, grabs hold of the back of his van and hitches a ride, later tracking him through the woods, despite her serious injuries. She is tough, strong and determined. Then about forty minutes in, Bam! Everything gets turned on its head. What is going on in this horribly dreary town? Are the townsfolk in on it? And that’s all I can say plot wise without revealing the first of a few twists.
The film starts out strong. We see the figure of The Tall Man about a half hour in and there doesn’t seem like there’s anything supernatural about him. Take the paranormal out and it looks like we’re dealing with a human abductor of children, something that is scarier than monsters. There is a grittiness to this film. It exudes melancholy and despair and is always unsettling. The twists keep you wondering. While I couldn’t say I loved The Tall Man, it was definitely a change of pace from the horrors I’ve watched of late.
There are still a few things that didn’t make sense to me, but I think that’s the case for most psychological thrillers/horrors. I’d give it three stars for being different to anything I’ve watched before. ***
Can anyone recommend some horror films I should see?