This Netflix Movie Might Be Stephen King’s Worst Adaptation
When Stephen King fans hear there will be a new TV show or movie based on his brilliant work, there’s a mix of emotions. On the one hand, King is so talented that his stories deserve to see the small and big screen as his characters and premise stand the test of time. On the other hand, fans have been repeatedly disappointed, as the TV version of under the dome was disappointing and some movies were less than great.
In 2012, Stephen King and his son Joe Hill wrote a short story called In the tall grassand it became a Netflix movie in 2019. While both writers are incredibly talented and have a huge following of fans eagerly awaiting their new books, there are a lot of things missing from this movie.
While there are underrated Stephen King adaptations, In the tall grass is an unforgettable film. It doesn’t have the powerful premise or interesting characters that some other Stephen King movies and TV shows have. While Pet Seminar has a crazy idea that no one can ever forget, and 22.11.63 is smart, In the tall grass asks the audience to watch a movie set among, well, big chunks of grass, and that setting gets old incredibly quickly.
Grass is hard to be scared of and that’s one of the reasons why In the tall grass failed. The grassy area becomes a time loop and while there are some clever time loop movies out there, this one is confusing. Becky DeMuth (Laysla De Oliveira)
is six months pregnant and drives a car with her brother Cal (Avery Whitted). When they see Tobin Humboldt (Will Buie Jr), a boy, they go to the grass to help him. Unfortunately, that means the siblings meet Ross (Patrick Wilson) and Natalie (Rachel Wilson), Tobin’s horrible parents. But while it’s clear they’re a super creepy couple, the film is all about watching people walking around with tall grass around them. Even people who like to spend a lot of time in nature or walk in the woods will be bored by it.
The end of the film and the characters are so flat that it is difficult to appreciate this adaptation of Stephen King. While Becky’s boyfriend Travis McKean (Harrison Gilbertson) is the one to save her and Cal as he learns about the time loop and is able to stop Becky and Cal from going to the grass, this end does not seem deserved. Patrick is a generic evil character who gives Becky and Cal mean looks but doesn’t feel as threatening as he should. While Misery is a great movie by Stephen King, In the tall grass doesn’t have the same character development and clever story. It’s thrilling to watch Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) terrorize Paul Sheldon (James Caan). She’s a real villain who feels awful. It also feels like there are too many characters. Even though there are only a handful, Cal seems to be useless and there’s no real reason for him to be in the story. The movie could be simplified by having Becky and Travis drive by and seeing Tobin in the grass. While that would mean Travis couldn’t warn Becky and Cal, there could still be another way to fix this and end the movie properly.
Ross really fails as a villain. Compared to other evil but silly movie villains, it’s hard to understand Ross’ motivation or why he’s even there. Does he hang around in the tall grass waiting for people so he can trick them or assassinate them? Although the movie may suggest it, that question doesn’t really have an answer, and the idea of weed being deadly is about as scary as an episode of Goose bumps. While people remember being freaked out by monsters and scary stories in RL Stine’s TV adaptation when they were little, they can’t say it’s terrifying now, but at least Goose bumps has the advantage of being funny and cheesy/campy while scaring kids. In the tall grass doesn’t leave much room for fun.
In the tall grass doesn’t really feel like it’s anything. The audience finds out that Becky was going to give her baby up for adoption, and that she and Cal were going on a trip to meet potential parents, and Becky realizes she’s ready to be a parent by the end of the film. But since audiences don’t know Becky, Cal, or Travis very well, because they feel like one-note characters, it’s hard to really care and invest in that part of the story. Stephen King fans were certainly hoping for more.
NEXT: Did the IT Remakes do the right thing by splitting the story into two chapters?
Roguebook update 1.10 is finally here, bringing the game to both PlayStation and Xbox with a new character and playable mode.
About the Author