Netflix, you really messed up this time…
I love Stephen King novels just as much as the next horror fanatic. However, there have been some true stinkers as far as movie adaptations. The adaptation for Cell is one example, but people interested in the genre could name several. King’s novels are notorious for being difficult to turn into movies. So what made Netflix think they could take on the task of turning a novella into a full length movie?
If you’ve never read or seen In the Tall Grass then here is a small breakdown for you. Becky is pregnant and is driving with her brother to give her baby up for adoption. On the way to San Diego they stop after hearing a boy calling for help in some tall grass off the side of the road. They enter the grass and quickly become lost. Like really lost. Like, you’re trapped here forever kinda lost. Shenanigans ensue, and everyone dies (in the novella at least). Sounds pretty cool and creepy, right? Now here is how they fucked it up.
Let’s begin with the fact that In the Tall Grass is originally a novella written by Stephen King and his son, Joe Hill. This isn’t like the tome that is King’s It. I read In the Tall Grass as I was waiting to board a plane, not over a long weekend. This thing is all of 60 pages long, and I can’t imagine why anyone would think it was a cool idea to turn that into an hour and 40 minutes worth of movie. There is only so long that watching people be stuck in tall grass can be scary. After a while, it’s just people calling out names and you wishing they’d finally just kick it.
To try and compensate for the lack of source material, they took it upon themselves to add new content. Is this new content good? No, no it is not. When has adding random time loops to something ever made it better? It’s confusing to the audience, they’re not even proper time loops, and I would rather chew nails than attempt to understand what the writers were thinking here. In the original novella, we ended it on a simple note with our characters dead and the promise of new victims entering the tall grass. However, through this weird time loop situation, they managed to keep all of our protagonists alive. But, as they were all annoying anyway, this isn’t something that I am pleased about.
There are several large things, and an ungodly amount of little things, wrong with the Netflix adaptation of In the Tall Grass. If you’re looking for something fun and spooky to settle down with for the evening, I’d suggest the actual King and Hill novella. In fact, there are lots of things I’d suggest before this horrendous movie.
By Joey Warren