Disappointing King adaptation, that fails to make the most of its potential
8 October 2019
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Cal De Muth (Avery Whitted) and his heavily pregnant sister Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) break down near a large, grassy field. Suddenly, they hear a child's voice crying out from the grass, crying for rescue. Instinctively chasing after it, they find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of grass, until Cal encounters a young boy named Tobin (Will Buie Jr.) who appears to be the child who cried for help. Eventually, he brings them into contact with Ross (Patrick Wilson), a man who claims to be his father. Eventually, Travis (Harrison Gilbertson), Becky's estranged partner and father of her unborn child, arrives on the scene, and all of them are plunged into a desperate battle for survival.

Stephen King is truly back in business. Hell, we can even say we have Kingbusiness going on! After the phenomenal success of It, new adaptations of his works appear to be spiralling back out at the bucket load, with the new version of Pet Sematary released earlier in the year, the recent It Chapter Two (still in cinemas) and the upcoming Shining follow up Doctor Sleep (at the end of this month, I believe) and streaming giant Netflix don't appear to have their eyes shut to his appeal. And so we have this production from director Vincenzo Natali, which is a collaboration between him and a guy called Joe Hill.

This is a typical King set up in every sense of the word, from the characters, to the location, to the framework of the story. I've seen so many adaptations of his work that I could picture how it's been written without even reading the novel. And as such, it sets a reliably creepy atmosphere and sense of intrigue and foreboding, with a small, centralized set of characters you can count on one hand. Sadly, though, none of them prove engaging enough or are developed in any way that you really care about any of them, despite Wilson's presence as the possessed madman, further hindered by a story that fails to make much sense or provide much in the way of a satisfying resolution.

Probably the creepiest and most effective thing about it is the actual tall grass, with the fierce Indian chants coming from it, and the unsettling way it appears to fold over and trap whoever's inside it. But, when the scariest thing about your movie is some large, bending grass, what does that really say? **
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