The Tall Man


Viewed – 06 April 2013  Blu-ray

Two things to get straight right away.  This has nothing to do with the villain of cult favorite series Phantasm, and secondly this isn’t the kind of deeply disturbing, torture endurance test that was Martyrs; Director Pascal Laugier’s previous effort.  Starring a dowdy Jessica Biel (sigh…) as a Nurse in a small town that has been rocked to it’s core by a series of child kidnappings, this is a slow burning, creepy and effecting thriller.

tall man

I think anyone going into this with memory of Martyr’s might be cautious.  Without going into detail, that movie remains one of the most disturbing, get-under-your-skin horror movies ever made, and I still haven’t had the guts to sit down and watch it again.  So I understand why this may not have had the press coverage or advertising it deserves.  Laugier’s name has become infamous, and it’s a shame because on this evidence he’s a very capable and intelligent film maker.  I liked how on the surface it was a mystery surrounding a ghostly boogeyman, but with a real-world relevance that should hit a cord with almost everyone aware of child abduction cases.  However this takes a well-trodden subject and shakes it up, with surprising and thought-provoking results.   Add to this some thrilling moments (Biel chasing after the kidnapper for example), unnerving editing / camera work, and solid acting with Biel proving more than her usual eye-candy, and also a quality turn from from Jodelle Ferland (Tideland) … I was suitably gripped.

Laugier’s movie likes to play with your expectations, and although I felt the clever narrative occasionally detracted from the overall impact, I still wish to salute the Director for not taking the predictable route with this.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Phantasm


Viewed – 29 November 2008  DVD

I recently received the Anchor Bay box-set of this much celebrated horror franchise that dates back to the late seventies, and I have a confession – I have never seen one of them – until now.

This follows the story of a teenage boy and his elder brother who stumble upon the wicked scheme of a creepy mortician to steal dead bodies from the local cemetery so to turn them into midget slaves. This is quite easily one of the dodgiest storylines in horror history, but still proves rather fun.  The iconic Tall Man, played by Angus Scrimm is a weird, creepy creation, and with his flying balls (!), proves a totally unique horror villain. 

What ultimately lets this film down though is some awful acting, horror moments that have no bite, and a budget so small you can see all the cracks and seems.  Oh and the ending is laughable for all the wrong reasons.

The extras are only mildly worth a mention, but the commentary (with key cast members and the director) is well worth a listen for added value, and there’s some deleted scenes and a trailer.  More importantly we get a fun introduction by Angus Scrimm, which fans will lap up I’m sure.

Verdict:  2 /5