Wednesday, February 26, 2020

REVIEW: In the Tall Grass (audiobook) by Stephen King and Joe Hill, narrated by Stephen Lang

In the Tall Grass is a horror novella. I checked it out via my library's Overdrive.


Becky and Cal are inseparable siblings. When Becky finds out she's pregnant, Cal is the most supportive member of their family. The two end up on a road trip that takes them by a field of tall grass out in the middle of nowhere. They happen to hear a lost young boy calling for help somewhere in the field, so they pull over. It's weird, though, because there's also a woman in the field, the boy's mother, and for some reason she keeps telling him to be quiet. By the time Cal and Becky realize there's something off about this situation, it's too late, they're already in the grass.

I saw the trailer for the movie adaptation of this on Netflix and was intrigued. However, I also realize that I'm a huge wimp when it comes to horror movies and TV, so I decided to listen to the audiobook first (instead?).

I loved the overall atmosphere. The setting was perfect - isolated, with iffy cellphone reception, and yet not obvious about its dangerous aspects. Incidentally, I hate driving through "middle of nowhere" places because I can easily imagine ending up stranded by a place like this field of grass. Although hopefully not exactly like this.

In terms of horror main character intelligence, Becky was the smarter one of the two. If Cal hadn't been so impulsive, and if the two of them hadn't practically been joined at the hip, Becky might have managed to call 911 before they both got lost in the grass. Considering how things turned out, it's actually kind of painful to recall that, for a few seconds, her call did manage to go through.

Anyway, my wimpy self enjoyed the first part of the story the most, the period of time when Cal and Becky first realized that they were lost and that finding their bearings might be impossible. The second half of the story was harder for me to get through, especially the last 30 or so minutes. Bad, gross things happened, and I particularly wanted to cry for Becky. I listened to most of this audiobook while I was at work, but I listened to the last bit at home, and that was probably for the best.

My curiosity is now satisfied, but I think I'll pass on the movie adaptation. Although it sounds quite a bit different from the novella (yes, I read the detailed and spoiler-filled description on Wikipedia), it still has two of the moments from the original story that I think would be most difficult for me to watch.

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