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3.5 out of 5 stars61
3.5 out of 5 stars
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This is an atmospheric, beautifully shot, and very well acted thriller. It's full of twists and turns, and clever misdirection, which keep you guessing until the end of the movie.
Cold Rock is a tired, rundown Hicksville town in Washington, USA. Like Dunblane in Scotland, it has an overwhelmingly tragic history - seventeen young children, including babes and toddlers, have gone missing, feared to be dead. The local police have no clues and no leads. Cold Rock is an isolated town, surrounded by dense forest. A legend is created about the Tall Man, who's some sort of boogeyman, or a Bigfoot, or an evil man or monster who can't be stopped. The townsfolk are down and out, drained of spirit, resigned to their fates.
Jessica Biel plays Julia, the local nurse. She's a beautiful, thirty-something widow, and a mother to a boy aged about eight, David. She lives with a close friend, Christine. One of the other locals is a mute teenager named Jenny, who alleges that she's seen the Tall Man, more than once.
I found the first twenty minutes of the film quite like Stephen King's It - children disappearing one by one from a small town in mysterious circumstances. However, the film then explodes into life, with a thrilling sequence when David is snatched from his home by a masked intruder. The next ten minutes is absolutely enthralling, involving a truck and a crazed dog. I won't say any more because it is just too good to miss.
At the midpoint of the film, there's a very clever twist in the tale. The second half of the film is all about the hunt for the missing children, and right at the end, another smart piece of misdirection is revealed.
Jessica Biel gives a superb performance as the lead actress. The supporting cast are thoroughly convincing in their roles. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful - this is a very stylish film. The script is well written, and the various sub-plots are satisfyingly drawn together during the course of the pic. The film has distinct similarities with Seven (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman), and is just about on a par with that movie.
I've knocked one star off the rating for this highly enjoyable movie, for the following reasons. Firstly, the story is somewhat implausible. If seventeen very young children had disappeared from a very small town, over a period of years, the FBI would probably have set up camp in the surrounding forests. Secondly, the film appears to have an underlying political or socio-economic message, the gist of which seems to be that "trailer park trash" folk don't deserve to have children.
But these are relatively minor grumbles, and overall, this is a deliciously dark and gripping thriller. A horror film it is not. And finally, at less than a fiver for the blu-ray, this movie is cracking value for money.
Thank you for reading this review.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2013
This crime/drama/mystery starts out with glass being picked out of Julie's face (Jessica Biel) then we flashback 36 hours to briefly build character. Cold Rock, Washington is a dead mining town where children frequently go missing. The town folk blame the "Tall Man." Julie is a nurse who runs the community clinic. She has taken over for her husband who was a doctor.

During this time we are introduced to Tracy (Samantha Ferris), her biker boyfriend Steven (Teach Grant), and her two teen daughters Carol (Katherine Ramdeen) who recently had a child by Steven, and Jenny (Jodelle Ferland) a self imposed mute who has seen the Tall Man. When Julie's son David is abducted, mom springs into action without thought for her personal safety.

Then the movie turns weird. We discover that the town's police car rear doors can open from the inside and poverty is a cycle that results from a broken system. The twist caught me off guard which is why I liked the film. In fact it flashes back and let's you see the clues, in case you missed them. The film raises social questions, but doesn't supply definitive answers. Good acting. Well written. I liked how the story developed. It spent just a touch too much making social comments, rather than just have the film speak for itself.

PARENTAL GUIDE: F-Bomb, no nudity, no sex.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2014
Great movie. A million miles away from the Hollywood conveyer belt. Unpredictable plot twists and very unusual. Great photography and cast. Check this one out. I loved it.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2012
This very good film shocked me as few others did since "Seven", surprised me as few others did since the "Usual suspects" and in a couple of scenes also scared me (although ultimately it was not half as scary as I expected).

The story happens in Cold Rock, a little half-abandoned town in the state of Washington, where for the last couple of years somebody or SOMETHING abducted seventeen little children, babies or toddlers. There never was a viable suspect and no bodies were ever found. Terrified local residents nicknamed the person or THING behind those appearances "The Tall Man". A local nurse, Julia Dening (Jessica Biel), will finally become extremely concerned by the question "Who, or WHAT, is The Tall Man". A mute young girl, Jenny (Jodelle Ferland), who is the only one to really have seen "The Tall Man" with her own eyes, holds maybe some clues to solve the riddle...

This is a very clever, very surprising thriller which manages to preserve the suspense for a very long time. I managed to understand what is going on a little bit earlier than it was openly revealed, but still, it was only 10 minutes before the end...

Actors are doing great. Jessica Biel is here excellent and as always extremely beautiful. Joelle Ferland proves once again her great talent - she will be a great star one day! William B. Davis, the "Smoking Man" from X-Files, plays the role of the local old and slightly hapless sheriff - or is he really so hapless? Stephen McHattie, a Canadian veteran actor, does a great job as a tenacious detective, Lieutenant Dodd (he is mostly known from second roles, but his threatening face is rather unforgettable...). Last but not least, there is Colleen Wheeler, who plays Ms. Johnson, a local crazy woman - Ms Johnson is a secondary but important character and Colleen Wheeler played her perfectly.

I would advise to NOT read more detailed reviews or even watch the trailers, so you can go see this film like I did, without knowing anything else other than what we can guess from the poster at the cinema entry. The surprises are important and the director did all he could to give us lots of false clues to prevent the secret of being found too early.

Now, if what you need is a classical horror, here you risk to be a little bit disappointed, because this film is... well, something different. As father of little children myself I must say that I was quite troubled by the whole story and GREATLY shocked and upset by the solution. But I am not giving any more clues. Enjoy the film and decide yourself what you think of it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 March 2013
Set in the dreary small American town of Cold Rock, that was once a thriving community, now poverty stricken. We follow the everyday life of resident & nurse Julia Denning's (Biel) interactions with the locals. All the while running in the background is the eerie story of a string of mysterious child disappearances over the years from the Town, with missing posters & news clips of distraught parents. All of which has built up a local legend of The Tall Man. A person or myth who is believed to be responsible for the abduction of well over a dozen children from they're families. As fate would have it, the next child taken is that of Julia's, and as she delves deeper into the legend of the Tall Man to find her son, all is not as it appears.

Overall we really enjoyed the film for it achieving something a little different form the norm, don't expect a run of the mill horror movie as the premise would have you believe. The story starts slowly & draws you into it by introducing & connecting you to the characters & setting, and just as you think you have it all figured out & sense predictability of what's to happen next, in a short space of time it twists the story on it's head with a great piece of misdirection, as many theories race through your mind as to what is going on. And once the realization hit's in, your left questioning the right or wrong morality of the thought provoking subject matter.

The cinematography was well executed, and the range of acting presented by Jessica Biel was excellent, and proved that she is not just a pretty face when it comes to her acting talent. Supporting actress & narrator Jodelle Ferland (Case 39) added a haunting narration, and her role as the confused teenager who gets caught up in the morality of it all, wasn't many steps off the pace from Jessica Biel. The remaining support cast was full of well known faces, Stephen McHattie (Jessie Stone) , Samantha Ferris (Supernatural) & William B. Davis (The X-files, smoking man) all added authority to they're characters & weight to the story.

In conclusion, The Tall Man uses horror elements as a pretense to it's underlying, original, mystery thriller that tug's at the heart strings of morality. Be prepared for something different, don't say you weren't warned. Contains strong language, mature themes & violence. Recommended.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2012
A really interesting movie very well made,quality acting with some great twists and turns. If you like a good thriller you should enjoy this.Fabulous scenic photography and a moody mysterious score rack up the atmostphere. However horror affecionados may be dissappointed as this is not a horror film but starts out just like one then develops into something different.
Highly recommended to fans of something slightly different and thriller junkies,one of my favourite films this year a real 'sleeper'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2015
Loved this movie as Jessica Biel plays a nurse in a dead broken down town where children are disappearing and the locals believe someone nicknamed The Tall Man is taking them. All is not as it seems as the storyline is full of little twist and turns which keeps you hooked right till the very end. Clever story, well acted, big thumbs up and 5 stars :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 December 2014
An original piece of story telling with great photography and more twists and turns than usual. Jessica Biel plays her part well and is ably assisted by the rest of the cast. While not in the 'Horror' vein, it is thought provoking and well worth a watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 August 2015
Literarily no idea what was going on throughout the majority of this film - boring and hard to follow (a few twists which held some slight interest but that's about it)
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2013
The Tall Man is a curious film, unique in many ways. What starts out as a fairly standard idea, quickly gains an air of "not quite what it seems" although as a viewer it's hard to pinpoint, keeps you guessing, then it all changes and the plot evolves rapidly so you don't quite know what's happening. (That's a good thing!). It is very well crafted as a story. The only letdown for me was the ending which very rapidly explained what happened without the fairness of giving enough clues throughout the movie. Great acting and production, coupled with a good story, make this a must-see movie that will keep you thinking long after it's over.

One star lost for lackluster Blu-Ray offering; the picture quality was no better than DVD, and the extras were non-existent. Not even any subtitles. Good film though.
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