In The Tall Grass tops off a phenomenal year for Stephen King with the new Horror making people across the world everywhere afraid to mow their lawns.
If the ending of In The Tall Grass left you as lost as the characters then don’t worry because we have the answers here. Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the film and it’s ending.
There will ofcourse be heavy spoilers, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the film yet and don’t want anything potentially ruined then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video, now let’s get into our breakdown of In The Tall Grass!
In The Tall Grass Plot Recap
The film opens with a very Jeepers-Creepersy premise as we follow a brother and sister pair, Cal and a heavily pregnant Becky who stop during a sweltering car journey to rescue a boy who seemingly appears to be lost in a field. They soon realise that something is amiss and this field of dreams quickly turns into a field of screams as the two discover that the grass is hiding a terrible secret.
In The Tall Grass instantly gripped me and watching the pair wander around the unforgiving maze that purposely twisted and changed in order to manipulate them was harrowing throughout. It’s a unique horror setting and whilst concepts like this, where nature is the enemy, have been discussed in films like The Happening, In The Tall Grass certainly feels a lot less laughable and far more terrifying.
Anyone who has ever been lost in a strange place will be able to relate to this early on and whilst the film doesn’t completely hit the mark every time, it definitely kept my interest throughout.
After being trapped in the grass for the best part of a day, Cal stumbles across Tobin, the lost boy and Becky discovers his father Ross, played by Patrick Wilson. Both seem pretty untrustworthy and weird and Tobin leads Cal to the centre of the maze where he comes across a giant rock that apparently allows those who touch it to learn the secrets of the Tall Grass.
Now those who’ve read the book may be surprised by just how close to the source material that this story sticks with the initial opening being pretty much the way things happen in the work by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Though the film carries on after the events of the story at some points, I think fans of the work will definitely lap this up and find the changes engaging. This fleshes out the main storyline far beyond what we have in the book and feels like the next logical step.
After some time passes Travis Mckean, Becky’s baby’s father arrives at the grass after searching for the pair. He too unwittingly enters the grass and similar to Cal stumbles across Tobin who seems to know him and says he knows Becky. He leads her to her dead body and disappears awaking the next morning to find Tobin shouting to him.
Now Tobin pays lip service to the fact that he and Travis are connected and that others in the grass aren’t which sort of fleshes out how there are multiple realities and timelines existing in the grass. The grass is able to alter time and space in order to pull more people in and the next day Travis calls out to Tobin’s family who has just arrived in the area.
The Grass Explained
Similar to the grass itself, time in the area is able to move and bend with those from the future pulling in people who exist in the grass in the past. The constantly altering the perspective of the film may be confusing without the prior knowledge that time in the grass moves completely differently to how we as humans perceive it but it does follow certain rules.
The Grass is able to alter the past whilst retaining elements of the future and this is how Travis is able to be pulled in, then pull in Tobin who pulls in Becky who eventually pulls in Travis.
The future is the past as the past is the present and the grass itself is an entity that uses it’s prey to lure in more prey who in turn lure in more prey constantly changing the pathway of time similar to how it changes the pathways of those trapped within it. The grass even alters the past as we see when Travis, Cal, Becky, and Tobin all meet one another even though we know this didn’t originally happen.
So, from this, we can decipher that the grass is able to create a timeline, take elements of that timeline, move them across to an alternate one that wipes the original timeline and then use this to gain more prey. This is confirmed by the fact that Ross later in the film is able to kill Cal as he has done several times before because he can predict the way that the character moves in certain circumstances.
Now, if you don’t have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics you still might find this confusing but basically the grass can do what it wants. This is all controlled by a giant Rock that is perceived by Ross to be the centre of the world, if not the universe. The rock which is millenia old requires touch in order to gain its knowledge and Cal almost reaches out and grabs it when Tobin’s mother, Natalie from an alternate timeline is pulled into the circle to stop everything.
In The Tall Grass Ending
This leads to Ross killing Natalie and beating Travis after he refuses to touch the rock and in my opinion, the movie is a metaphor for how those who believe that they have the answers are sometimes willing to use violence in order to try and force others to see it. We as a species are all wandering through our own grass, lost, with no real idea of what is going one whilst others try and force us to see things our way. None of us can really see the wood for the trees yet some think they know better and similar to the group in this, we have to be careful about who we decide to follow.
This is exemplified in Becky who could have followed Travis in order to have a family or her brother who didn’t believe that Travis was good enough for her. Both had their prejudices and failings and thus Becky’s child would have it’s advantages and disadvantages but ultimately Cal is shown to be a bad, selfish person that is as forceful as Ross due to the fact that he seemingly allows Travis to fall to his death. To me this personifies how the left and right both have their dark sides and whilst Netflix shows are often accused of being skewed towards a liberal agenda I think this paints out a pretty fair portrait of how society works with all aspects having its pros and cons.
After running from Ross the group finds a run-down bowling alley in the grass that they take refuge in, Cal almost kills Travis and Ross kills Cal and we are pretty much given the message that had everyone decided to work together instead of in their two divisions that they probably could have escaped the grass.
In The Tall Grass Ending Explained
If they had made the choice to escape they could have but they have constantly made the wrong one and therefore the grass is able to hold them in it’s web. Tobin is the main signifier of this as we see certain versions where he takes on a twisted and dark persona and other versions where he is a brighter, happier being. This to me solidifies that children are our future and the way that we lead them in a way with choices similar to how Becky rather than through force, there will be a more positive outcome.
Travis too realises that he made the wrong choice in abandoning Becky and she realises that she too did by wishing to give her baby up for adoption. The grass is a representation of going through hardship and coming out better for it on the other side by making the correct choice.
Whilst this version of Becky, Travis and Ross all come to end up on the tragic path that was teased throughout the film, there is hope as Becky was able to contact the outside world with a warning before and Travis touches the rock and is able to see all the pathways and lead Tobin out.
Tobin reaches the church on the outside of the field and is able to warn Becky and Cal before they make the wrong choice.
Now, these characters are able to avoid the area they will go on to lead the lives that they should have had. To me, it signifies that we all are in control of our own destinies and if we can escape the trappings of the wrong choice early on either by ourselves or with help from others then we will be able to go in the right direction.
The film closes with Becky realising that her future lies with Travis and her baby and with Cal and Tobin she heads home. It solidifies that we can help ourselves even when things look bleakest and is a rather more hopeful ending than is simply presented. We watch as the good Travis collapses in the field, safe in the knowledge that out there, there is a version of himself that is leading the life he should have which is when we cut to credits.
In The Tall Grass Review
In The Tall Grass is a really enjoyable Horror film, that whilst I think suffers from some pacing issues and a muddled final act, it still has a lot going for it. Though this won’t be for everyone, as far as terror goes this is a unique movie that will keep you engaged throughout due to it’s mind-bending premise.
In The Tall Grass is relatable enough so that you would question what you would do in such circumstances and like the best horrors, it perfectly allows you to feel the fear that the characters are going through.
It’s a brilliantly self-contained story that is another fantastic adaptation of King’s work and this if you weren’t certain that we were in his third career revival then this should definitely hammer it home. I would love to see more standalone horror films like this that take an awesome premise and twist your expectations in several surprising ways.
In The Tall Grass is great and that’s why it gets a…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on In The Tall Grass and if you agree or disagree with my thoughts on it. Comment below and let me know!