Netflix's 'In the Tall Grass' Gets an A+ for Sound Design, but It Can't Redeem the Muddled Plot

Allison Cacich - Author

Oct. 7 2019, Updated 3:38 p.m. ET

in the grass chanting
Source: Netflix

Any horror buff knows that sound is critical when it comes to sending shivers up a moviegoer’s spine (think Jaws or even A Quiet Place, where the lack of noise is just as effective as a few sinister notes). 

Music certainly helps elevate Netflix’s new psychological thriller, In the Tall Grass, which it desperately needs to balance out the convoluted plot. Here are a few behind-the-scenes facts about the making of this supernatural drama, which is based on Stephen King and Joe Hill’s 2012 novella of the same name.

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The chanting on In the Tall Grass' soundtrack ties in closely to the film’s narrative.

Yes, the storyline is bonkers — making grass one of your main villains is a bold move — but as one reddit reviewer pointed out, the setting presents the perfect playground for sound design. 

in the tall grass soundtrack
Source: Netflix
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"The quiet rustling of the grass, the disappearing and reappearing voices in the distance — and the soundtrack that's mostly just atmosphere and chanting is mesmerizing," the user, who goes by the name maxwdn, writes.

"[It] does something to really drive home the implication of the supernatural or potentially extraterrestrial in the more fantastical aspect of the writing, which is only alluded to with little direct exposition."

One commenter added that if you have a solid sound system at home, the movie "really shines."

Where was In the Tall Grass filmed?

Filming took place in and around Toronto from July to September 2018. The field was located alongside a rural road in Perth South, Ontario. 

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where was in the grass filmed
Source: Netflix

"People would get lost in the field all the time," director Vincenzo Natali admitted in an interview with Daily Dead. "We had whistles so we could call to each other."

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The filmmaker confessed that the shooting conditions were far from ideal. "We did torture [the actors] a little bit," Vincenzo shared. "I warned them when I was casting. I told them that this is going to be physically difficult because it'll be very hot, where you're going to be exposed to the elements for long stretches of time, and the grass actually can cut you."

He added, "It really was like they were living the experience, where they were out there every day, all day, in the heat, dealing with all the bugs and getting sliced up. And so, they were in the real place, really feeling it, and I think that has a palpable effect on performance, and it had a palpable effect on me."

patrick wilson in the tall grass
Source: Netflix
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Patrick Wilson’s comforting presence landed him the role of Ross Humboldt.

SPOILER ALERT! Ross turns out to be a psychopath who’s hell-bent on getting the others trapped in the field to touch a mystical rock that prevents them from escaping. He’s an unassuming villain, which made Patrick an obvious choice for Vincenzo.

"I love Patrick, and have always loved him as an actor, but I particularly wanted him in this for that reason: because you trust him," the director stated. "One of the things that we did alter from the book was we delayed the reveal that he is what he is."

A grass-loving murderer masquerading as a suburban husband? Terrifying. 

You can stream In the Tall Grass on Netflix now.

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