The Tall Man


The Tall Man

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 28


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,686
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Movie Info

In an isolated, slowly dying mining town, children are vanishing without a trace - abducted, the townsfolk whisper, by a mysterious entity known locally as "The Tall Man." Town nurse Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) seems skeptical...until her young David disappears in the middle of night. Frantic to rescue the boy, Julia lives every parent's darkest nightmare in this twisting, shock-around-each-corner thriller from acclaimed director Pascal Laugier called The Tall Man. -- (C) Image

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Critic Reviews for The Tall Man

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (16)

  • If you're a parent who ever, for one cold-sweat second, lost sight of your child at a playground - "The Tall Man" will tap into your darkest fears. And then make them even darker.

    Aug 31, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Long on atmosphere and short on sense, "The Tall Man" becomes less gripping as it grows more ridiculous.

    Aug 31, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • "The Tall Man" spits out enough scares and twists to maintain our interest, but the film's psycho-sociological layer is almost as cheesy and unconvincing as its low-rent action scenes.

    Aug 31, 2012 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • "The Tall Man" opens like a ghost story and closes with its feet firmly in the real world. Until then, Pascal Laugier's chilly little thriller manhandles our sympathies and gladdens our eyes in almost equal measure.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Rating: 4/5
  • The movie itself draws on too long, and eventually goes past at least two potential endings and heads right into the ridiculous.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • It's novel, thought-provoking, and defiant of genre expectations.

    Aug 30, 2012 | Rating: B

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Tall Man

  • Oct 19, 2017
    You have to pay attention. Great concept, but it wasn’t done as well as I think it could have been.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2015
    One of those rare cinematic treats wherein the work is so bad one desires to reach out and flail the offenders as badly as one felt oneself assailed. I'm going with the director/writer as the major perpetrator of this assault on one's innocence, although the film's star seems suspiciously culpable as well. A vomiting in your face that begs Biblical vengeance, steer far clear of this.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 21, 2013
    While I think this movie could've been much better, I did think this had some really clever twists that keep you, not necessarily on the edge of your seat, but it subverts typical horror/suspense conventions. There's some misdirection here as the film leads you to believe one thing that turns out to be wrong in the end and I thought that was pretty clever. I think the big problem lies in the fact that there's not really much of a mystery to solve. I predicted what would happen 20 minutes into the movie. I don't mean to say I figured out the specifics of the plot, for example I wasn't aware of its sociological message until I saw it for myself, but the outline of it was exactly what I had predicted. And the problem is that instead of playing both sides against the other, so you could get a little more mystery as to what really was happening in this town, you get the answers handed to you almost too easily. About half of the movie is all about Julia's character and her reasons for her actions. While this leads to some of the film's better moments, with Jessica Biel probably delivering some her finest acting, at the same time the twist is a little ridiculous and overtly preachy. Basically, the reason these kids are being taken is that, since the town has been plagued by hard times economically, this organization that takes these kids wants to give them a better shot at life, where their potential isn't wasted away in a town that doesn't care to nurture that potential, so they're handed off to people that can afford to give the kids everything they want. Good schools, good home, etc. The problem is that growing up with rich parents doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have the most potential when you're an adult. You'll certainly have the most money behind you, but I don't think that counts as potential. If you're given everything you want in life without ever having to work for it, you could end up a completely lazy and useless human being, like the Kardashians. I'm not saying that growing up rich is bad, but it can sometimes be. Just like growing up poor can drive someone to work harder so they can have a better standing in life. Or it can lead to them being just like their parents and continuing that cycle of ruined potential, as Julia said in her little monologue. So this organization's ideals are flawed, so it makes them far more unlikable than this group that is doing great things for these kids, giving them a chance at a better life. Perhaps that was the intention of the movie, not everything is so black and white. But, to me, the way the movie was presented was almost like Pascal Laugier truly believed this and not to create morally complex story with shades of grey. But, the fact of the matter is that this organization comes across more as unlikable rather than an organization fighting for justice. Who are they to say that just because a child grows up in a poor home, that he or she will end up throwing their life away? They're basing their entire organization on what-ifs and not on actual real-world evidence. Basically, what it boils down to, is the quality of the parents themselves and not whether they're poor or not. Just because someone is rich doesn't mean that they can give a kid what they really need, love, affection and discipline. And I think that that's where the movie completely misses the mark. The argument was completely one-sided. But anyway, I thought this was a better movie than I expected, and it had some really clever twists and misdirection that completely drive your attention away from what's really happening. But, at the same time, the movie is definitely low on tension and it's certainly a little preachier than it should be. Jessica Biel is really good here, but the film misses the mark on its message completely.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2013
    Not a horror movie. Definitely an original. I think that it bothered me that they played it up so well the first half of the film as something really horrifying happening, then it turns out not to be the case. Points for originality, I guess...
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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