Wednesday, 3 September 2014

In The Tall Grass Review (Stephen King, Joe Hill)


A brother and sister driving across Kansas with the windows rolled down hear a young boy calling for help in the middle of a field of Tall Grass. Stopping to investigate, they enter the Tall Grass, become separated, and get lost in the Tall Grass. They can’t get out of the Tall Grass because the Tall Grass is weird and you can never leave the Tall Grass once you enter the Tall Grass. Huh. Tall Grass, eh? 

The premise is interesting: a field of Tall Grass that is somehow an evil living thing where no matter how close you can hear the people caught within it, you will never find them and so the characters are eternally ensnared within this bizarre field of Tall Grass. But then the story continues and gets progressively more of a chore to read, which is pretty damning for a short story that’s only about 50-odd pages long. 

It seems Stephen King and his son Joe Hill wrote this because they wanted to write some cannibalistic scenes together and not much else. It seems horror these days means descriptions of people who’ve gone nuts and resorted to eating one another. Except it’s not scary or interesting to read, and by the end I was just wanting it all to be over and done with.

How can a tense and exciting scenario have the vitality sucked from it? Too much description, repetitiveness, and stupid limericks. The excessive goriness in this story is the literary equivalent of the torture porn in those crappy Saw movies and feels like King is trying too hard to shock his readers. 

In the Tall Grass is a weak attempt at horror that serves to underline how fresh King’s stories were in Night Shift when it came out in the late 1970s and how tired his work reads these days in comparison.

In the Tall Grass

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