The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Tall Man | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Tall Man

Directed by: Pascal Laugier
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, Stephen McHattie, William B. Davis

The disappearance of numerous children in a small Pacific Northwest town is attributed by locals to a legendary hooded figure.

Last year a cinema-goer brought a lawsuit against the distributors of "Drive" for false advertising. The trailer had led her to purchase a ticket in the belief she was in for a "Fast & Furious" style action romp. When she found herself watching a transplanted Euro arthouse flick she was none too pleased. This woman received little support from cinephiles but consider if the shoe were on the other foot. How angry would you be if you thought if a trailer marketed a film as if it were made by Michael Haneke but the final product had more in common with Michael Bay? (One could argue the current "Man of Steel" trailer does just that.)
Like "Drive" this is the North American debut of a controversial European director and like "Drive" it's been grossly mis-promoted, in this case as a horror movie. Laugier caused a stir in his native France with "Martyrs", a film I personally thought was awful save for it's punch-the-air brilliantly ambiguous ending. Because of this every horror magazine and website have been promoting the hell out of his latest in the mistaken belief he's made a horror film. He hasn't.
Like "Martyrs", this movie gives us a huge plot twist a quarter of the way through. Here however it's such a twist that the movie actually switches genres. While the first half hour resembles a horror movie the rest of the film has more in common with the sort of "Movie of the Week" dramas which usually star Meredith Baxter-Birney. The biggest problem with aiming for realism like this is that the plot is far too preposterous for anyone to take seriously. I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure if scores of children were disappearing from one small town in America the president would send the National Guard in, not the one lone FBI man McHattie plays here.
If you're expecting a horror movie this will most likely rub you the wrong way. If your favorite TV channel is "True Movies" however this could be right up your street.