“A sly, strange and engaging horror story” — Scott Weinberg, FEAR.NET
Deep in the little town of Cold Rock, Washington, the children are in trouble. Serious trouble. The community is in widespread financial ruin with not a single school left open and… one by one, all of the children are disappearing. There is no rhyme or reason to who vanishes, where from or when it may happen. The only consistency that can be pinpointed is a terrible one: no missing child will ever be seen again. Nurse Julia Denning (NEXT’s Jessica Biel), widow of a local hero doctor and aid worker, is madly trying to pull disparate pieces of information together in a last-ditch effort to understand the terrors that have befallen her town and save whomever is left to be saved out of a community that is now in a perpetual state of mourning. Urban legend tells of “The Tall Man”, a spectral figure who abducts children from out of thin air. Many have seen him firsthand and few are non-believers. And, in the interest of avoiding spoilers, little about the plot synopsis you’ve just read tells you what this film really is!
Unconventional, disturbing and politically charged, THE TALL MAN is the latest provocation from the inimitable Pascal Laugier, whose previous film, MARTYRS, has already become a modern classic of the genre. Step back from everything you’re expecting this film to be. Much of it is structured for maximum sleight-of-hand and you’ll be amazed to see where it leads and what it ultimately has to say. Laugier is a daring filmmaker whose comfort levels reside in places most other directors safely avoid. His films challenge, startle and surprise. As with all of Laugier’s work, attention to detail is impeccable and conceptual inspiration bursts throughout. His casting choices are spot-on, with Biel turning in an absolutely fantastic performance in the lead. PONTYPOOL’s Stephen McHattie is steel-strong as always (McHattie also appears on the 2012 Fantasia screen in EDDIE and A LITTLE BIT ZOMBIE) and Jodelle Ferland (TIDELAND, CABIN IN THE WOODS, this year’s PARANORMAN) rounds out the cast with a turn that calculatedly evokes the characteristics of a battered animal. THE TALL MAN’s scares and upsets come from places most unusual. Keep your mind open and hold on to your seats.
— Mitch Davis