I usually love horror films and it’s not just because I’m interested in the paranormal but because it also gets my BP (blood pressure) spiking. However, I would not categorize Pascal Laugier’s “The Tall Man” as a horror movie but somewhere between a suspense/thriller and somewhat conspiracy movie. Now as far as the intro to the film is concerned those statistics about missing children in America is true; there are indeed about 800,000 kids go missing each year and about a thousand of them (or 8% of that number) are never found and some are so disturbing that they leave no traces of their whereabouts. No footprints, no piece of cloth, no hair samples, no nothing – it’s as if they just puff out of thin air and then they were gone.
There are a lot of theories surrounding this mystery of missing children and Laugier’s point of view in the movie is just one of them. But until these children show up and tell us what really happened, we may never know for sure. Theories include UFO abductions, animal attacks, big foot abductions, the children being sold to prostitution dens and human smugglers, the kids falling off of a wormhole into another dimension, angels, demons, abnormal weather phenomena that may have disintegrated them completely (i.e. plasma charge in the atmosphere) and many more. But there were no hard evidence to support these theories, except maybe for the one about human smugglers because it is more plausible and some people think that the bureaucracy is somehow involved.
In any case the film starts off with the small mining town in the state of Washington called Cold Rock. Julia Dunning (Jessica Biel) has inherited the responsibility of being the town’s only nurse ever since her husband Dr. Dunning (uncredited in the film) passed away. The town has suffered economic collapse since the mining operation shut down a few years ago, people had no jobs, most of the community members are poor and hungry and now something worse has plagued them – their children go missing every now and then. The mysterious abductor has only been known to the town as “The Tall Man” from witnesses accounts, but this man has never been ID’d and so the town’s sheriff department would not buy into it, dismissing it as simply another urban legend. Until one night it was Julia’s son David (Jakob Davies) was taken and it was right in front of her eyes.
Julia chased the tall man and fought like the Devil just to get David back but to no avail, because even though the guy was completely flesh & blood human, he was at least 6 foot 7 inches tall and bout 240 lbs. (give or take) and he easily overpowered Julia, and then took David away with him. Beaten down, bleeding, got bitten by a canine and exhausted Julia was retrieved by Lieutenant Dodd (Stephen McHattie) this after Jenny (Jodelle Ferland) saw the tall man carrying David away with his truck tumbled over the road and reported the whole thing to the cops. Julia was brought to a local diner where the owner helped clean her up and comfort her, but as she was getting ready to change in the backroom she saw a picture of David on a corner adorned with candle lights and other personal effects as if he is being mourned or be made into a human sacrifice or something.
This troubled her so much and in her suspicion and doubt she hid at the backseat of the sheriff’s car and hitched a ride to an abandoned warehouse. Meanwhile all the people in the diner were picking up sticks, baseball bats, wrenches and whatever they can use as a weapon getting ready to whack Julia no doubt. Here the twist in the story was revealed as oppose to other films in the same genre’ it usually happens about 15 minutes before the end. Nevertheless, it was a good surprise and as it turns out Julia was an accomplice of the tall man kidnapping the town’s children and the mysterious figure that took David from Julia’s house was in fact David’s real mother. She was able to figure out that Julia has been keeping the children that the tall man abducts in her house until they can take them away for good. Despite Julia’s injuries and being tied to a chair she was able to escape with David in custody and when the police and the town’s folk got to her house to retrieve David, the boy was gone.
It was later revealed that Dr. Dunning wasn’t dead but is in fact the mysterious tall man himself, who is in cahoots with his wife and Christine (Eve Harlow) and probably many others to kidnap the children of Cold Rock. Their reason was simple, they couldn’t bare to see lots of children suffer poverty and if they tried to help politicians made it very difficult for them because they have to go through an endless process while the children will suffer more. So in order to mitigate the bureaucracy’s intrusion they decided to bypass it and kidnap the kids and have them be adopted to parents who could give them what they need, what they deserve, which is a better life than the one they had in Cold Rock.
Going through the movie itself is much better than paying attention to the plot, besides it’s just a point of view anyway. Who has ever presented any facts to those children that have gone missing without a trace? No one. I’d give this film a 3.7 out of 5 rating for the suspense and a 2.6 rating for the plot, which is to sum it all up is about a 3.1 average over 5. Not bad for a horror movie.