After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out…and that something evil lurks within.
Netflix’s original horrors have been hit and miss for me, but mostly hit. I’d been eagerly awaiting this title and finally found the time to sit down and gather my thoughts on the film adaptation of the father-son (Stephen King and Joe Hill) novella of the same name. Netflix’s previous adaptations of King’s work, 1922 and Gerald’s Game, were good (almost great) films that set the bar rather high for this, the newest release.
Although some might find it difficult to find plant life horrifying, one needs only to look to 2008’s The Ruins for an example of vicious vegetation done right. Hell, even Invasion of the Body Snatchers could be considered a herbaceous horror.
Being lost in a field of grass may seems like a simple plot for a horror title, but there is something to be said for simplicity, especially when done with finesse. Playing on primal, ancient fears over jump scares and jabberwockies is a bold move in the current horror market—one that needs to executed flawlessly.
This film is visually beautiful, with a myriad of camera angles, shots, perspective shifts…pretty much everything under the sun used to make a field of grass vivid and interesting. The colours, close-ups and composition were striking and visceral—the score pointed and purposeful. While structurally appreciable, there is a lot of monotony—which is to be expected when almost all of the film takes place in a single field. It’s incredibly well shot but is oftentimes more of the same.
Unfortunately, while the first half of the film builds surrealism, the latter half falls flat. The visuals, the shots, the score, the editing; all of it A-grade filmmaking. The last two acts just don’t hold up though. It’s very much the “insanity via evil entity” trope where it could have really been something a lot more sinister or Lovecraftian—some eldritch horror from the terrifying planes of Bzlah-ech’ya! It never fully realizes the potential of what it could have been; we were so close to something truly evil, something satanically sinister. So close. Sure, it’s definitely twisted and a little heavy on the gory, grotesque, gruesome…but it’s the monotony that spoils it for me.
The film maintains its excellent visual cinematography and all the way through though, and just because I didn’t personally like the final twists and turns doesn’t meant that you won’t. *minor spoilers ahead*. The whole time loop dynamic almost always leaves a few plot holes no matter how well the story is strung together, and I feel that the same issue arises here. There’s too much “huh?” towards the end that is always explained so much better in King’s novels in comparison to the films. The cacophonous shrieking and yelling doesn’t help much either.
Children of the Corn was better.
Thanks for reading and stay sordid. Trailer and poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.