Updated: Nov 22, 2019
There is only one word to describe the Joe Hill and Stephen King novella, In The Tall Grass, included in Hill’s short story collection Full Throttle (scheduled to release on October 1st with its own Netflix adaptation coming October 4th)...scrumptious.
When siblings Cal and Becky (or “Irish twins” as their parents liked to call them) set out on a cross country road trip, they had no idea what lay on the road ahead. While driving a long stretch of mid-west highway, they hear the cries of a lost boy somewhere in the tall grass on the side of the road. Despite the pleas of a woman in the distance begging them to stay away, they can’t resist the urge to help and enter the grass.
The parallels between In The Tall Grass (originally published in Esquire magazine in 2012) and King’s 1977 story, Children of the Corn, are plentiful. A young male and female traveling down a long isolated stretch of highway, a vast expanse of tall vegetation full of sinister secrets - at times In The Tall Grass feels like an updated (and scarier) re-telling of the King classic.
From the decision to help the boy or save themselves to the inevitable panic that sets in when lost and the extreme detail of the truly disturbing behavior some characters exhibit - this novella induces more than one visceral reaction. It hooks the reader from the very first pages and guides them on an emotional roller coaster throughout.
No matter how many similarities it shares with Children of the Corn, In The Tall Grass is a classic story in its own right. Both Hill and King delivered a truly terrifying tale that is more than deserving of its own motion picture adaptation. Check out the Netflix trailer: