Movies about monsters that prey on children are as old as time. There’s something particularly horrifying about the death of our most precious, and The Tall Man, a movie starring Jessica Biel (and Lance Henrikson, one of my favorites), plays on that fear.
Whether intentionally or not, The Tall Man presents itself as a movie about the slender man, one of the great folk tales of this or any era, the first to come completely from the mind of internet denizens. We are introduced to the town of Cold Rock, a former mining village that is falling in on itself. Poverty grips it, but worse than that, children are disappearing by the droves. Dozens have simply vanished without explanation, with speculation falling on what the townfolk call The Tall Man, a boogey creature that hunts for innocents. But is the Tall Man real, or just a pedophile in disguise?
So that’s how the movie is set up. And if that had been the movie we had seen, I think it would have been a great film. But then things simply go crazy. The movie completely goes off the rails in a direction one would never suspect. It’s bizarre. It’s nonsensical. I can’t decide whether it makes a good movie or not, but it is certainly not what you expect.
And then comes the denouement, the reveal. It happens after the longest ending sequence this side of The Return of the King. Spoilers ahead…
As simply impossible as it is to believe, basically the Tall Man is a member of an international organization that kidnaps children from poor families and gives them to rich ones. Jessica Biel is one of their agents. Now, this is all presented as a good thing. A positive thing. It’s perhaps the most pretentious, ridiculous, condescending, insulting ending I have ever seen. And it’s presented as this deep social commentary on the state of the world.
In any event, I do not recommend The Tall Man to much of anyone. Stay very far away. This boogeyman is scary for all the wrong reasons.