Tall Men has something of an interesting history behind it; originally released in 2004 as Customer 152, the 13 year old film is being given fresh legs with a new title, a new distributer, and a release on Netflix in May. It’s a shame thin, given the films journey to the silver screen, that it isn’t any better.
A phycological horror featuring evil debt collectors and faceless men in suits almost a decade before Slenderman hit the scene, Tall Men has a lot of good elements, but a lack of cohesion ultimately stops the film from rising beyond the sum of its parts.
Terrence Mackleby isn’t very good with money, to the tune of seven maxed out credit cards, $80,000 in debt, and a declaration of bankruptcy. However when he gets a mysterious credit card in the mail, with only four percent interest, old habits prove to die hard. It’s not long before Terrence finds owing a lot of money to men you DO NOT want to owe money too. Tall men in black suits and covered faces, who don’t give a damn about anything but getting back what their owed.
It’s a cool idea, and in a more skilled hand Tall Men could perhaps have been an effective skewer of capitalist culture. In it’s current form however, it’s flat out bloated. Horror of this kind tends to work better tight and fast; there’s only so many scenes of spectral stalking you can show before things start getting repetitive. But Tall Men take’s its sweet time; the supernatural doesn’t even enter the frame until 54 minutes of the films 2 hour run time have passed by.
Humanizing Terrence as a character before shit hits the fan isn’t a bad idea, but there’s to much focus on the more mundane aspects of his life. Awkward dates, politics at his job, nosy co-workers; most of these elements work fine on their own, but put together they act as a very noticeable anchor on the atmosphere Tall Men works so hard to build.
Given this is the film’s second release, maybe the filmmakers behind Tall Men still have time to go back and trim up their product; as it stands, its a good idea, executed well, but held down by fat. If your into physiological horror (or just don’t mind skipping the film ahead an hour or so), it’s worth checking out. For everyone else, view it at your own discretion. 5/10
Tall Men is due to release on Netflix this coming May. The trailer can be seen here