A nurse races to rescue her young son from a seemingly supernatural figure who’s been snatching children from a depressed mining town in this downbeat tale of terror from Martyrs director Pascal Laugier. For years, a mysterious entity known as the Tall Man has been abducting children from Cold Rock. The moment they vanish, they’re never seen again. Once a prosperous mining town, Cold Rock has fallen to ruin, yet local nurse Julia (Jessica Biel) writes off rumors of the elusive Tall Man as local superstition. Then one night, to her horror, Julia awakens to find her son David in the arms of the spectral figure, who steals the boy away into the darkness. Now Julia won’t stop searching for David until he’s back safe in her arms, and the truth about the missing children of Cold Rock is finally revealed. (summary from Fandango)
Let’s be honest for a minute. If you read the above summary, you have already pretty much decided where the plot of the movie is going to go. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. If you have even the slightest desire to watch this movie, stop reading this review. There’s going to be spoilers and with the multiple plot twists, I’m sure to ruin it for someone.
[SPOILERS] The movie starts out as pretty typical child abduction fair: a rash of children vanishing, a caring nurse who helps others with their children, and that nurse has a little boy (with the biggest hair ever) herself. Anyone watching knows what’s going to happen from the point where the mother/nurse (Biel) starts drinking with her friend in the house. That kid is going for a midnight ride with the Tall Man. Biel chases down the Tall Man’s box truck, gets savaged by his dog, and makes the truck crash. The Tall Man makes his escape with the boy. Biel is found lying in the middle of the road by a lawman and taken to the local diner.
Here’s were the first “what the hell?” moment comes in. All of the patrons of the diner seem to be in on the kidnapping and they go after Biel, who flees into the woods. The townsfolk load up for a good old “storming the castle and killing the beast” type fury where the monster is the nurse. Being the viewer, we have no idea why this happening. Are the children being kidnapped in some sort of crazy cult like frenzy? Are the townsfolk sacrificing children to the god of mining to allow the mine to open up again? Uhm…..no. Instead we have a total, mind devouring twist.
First though, we follow Biel as she makes it to an “abandoned” building where she ends up finding her curly headed kid. She follows the little kid (who doesn’t seem to want to be caught by his mother) until she is bashed in the head by the Tall Man. Only, it isn’t the Tall Man. It is one of the distraught mothers whose child had disappeared. She believes that the curly headed kid is HER child, not Biel’s. The mother ties Biel to a chair, hoping to get her to confess to nefarious deeds.
The nurse isn’t all what she seems. Biel and her friend are the ones kidnapping the children and giving them over to the “Tall Man”. The movie becomes even stranger after this. Biel’s character admits to murdering the children….except the curly head kid (why do I want to call him a hobbit? Just look at him) pops up again. One teenager is taken and….this is were I’ll leave it. I don’t want to ruin all of the twists for you.
Overall, I was pretty entertained by this movie. While it wasn’t entirely a horror movie, it was enough of a thriller to keep me in the story. Between the story and all of the plot twists and convulsions, this movie was highly entertaining and engaging. I rate this one a 8 out of 10. Jessica Biel acquits herself impressively as the distraught nurse and maybe so much more.
If you have watched The Tall Man, what did you think?
Note: This would have been an entirely different type of screwed up if it would have featured the Tall Man from the Phantasm series.