The ominously titled The Tall Man opens with statistics regarding the amount of children who go missing each year, and how many never return.
This is one of the common themes that pierces right through each scene in this film, kidnapping, capture, escape and even redemption.
The woodland town of Cold Rock on the outskirts of Washington has seen a spade of disappearances of children over a prolonged amount of time which have been atoned to the aforementioned ‘Tall Man’ who is believed to have kidnapped them, never to be seen again.
Cold Rock has become like a ghost town sprawled with missing persons posters freely blowing in the wind on a regular basis.
No one seems to know how to stop the kidnapping…
Enter protagonist Julia Denning the local clinic worker, who becomes dragged into this twisted world when her son is taken one night by the Tall Man.
After a rather timid first half hour as Julia actually chases the Tall Man, and is embroiled in a brutal scene on his truck coupled with his rather nasty dog.
Julia is played by Jessica Biel, who of course has shown her scream queen credentials previously in the excellent Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake from 2003.
Baffled by the incompetence of the local police (which include a great turn by William B Davis of X Files fame as Deputy Chesnut), she attempts to track down the Tall Man herself and solve the mystery once and for all.
The strength of the film really comes in playing it very straight, really playing on the broken souls of the parents, much in a way like the families from the Nightmare on Elm Street series; are they paying for a previous sin?
You will have to watch to see.
It’s around the halfway point that the story takes a very unexpected u-turn and completely changes its plot, and although it tries it never really recovers from the sudden jump in plot.
The conclusion feels unsatisfying for a film that promised so much and so very nearly delivered.