To be honest, I thought In The Tall Grass was going to be ridiculously bad. People just lost in a field? It sounds like a mediocre melatonin nightmare. However, I must say that the movie had waaayyy more to it than vicious vegetation.
For those of you who have seen the movie, you know that there are wild twists and turns relating to time and space. But there might have been a few things that you missed while trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
1. The abandoned church was called The Church of Black Rock of the Redeemer
After Ross touches the rock, he says he has been “redeemed” and tries to convert the other people trapped in the grass. But before we even know about the rock or anything about the grass, the sign for the creepy church across the street is shown and it says “The Church of Black Rock of the Redeemer.” An eerie foreshadowing, or maybe a sign that there was a religion built around this rock.
2. The grass does actually give redemption
Travis is redeemed by being freed from the grass after sacrificing himself for Tobin, Cal, Becky, and his unborn child (the one he told Becky to abort). Becky is redeemed by the grass when she decides to keep her baby instead of giving it up for adoption, showing she too has grown from her experience whether she knows it or not. Cal doesn’t necessarily show that he has been redeemed in the movie, but he could definitely stand to take some cool it with the “brotherly love” as Becky calls it.
3. There were cars in the church parking lot lined up by year
The cars that were lined up in the church parking lot seemed to be in some sort of chronological order, as if the victims of the grass were lining up one after the other over the last few decades. Although, we know that time inside the grass is not linear, so this line of cars is not always there.
4. The stained glass in the church looks like the grass
When Travis enters the church, there is a ghostly green glow that illuminates the church. In other shots throughout the movie, you can see that the stained glass windows look like the grass that the others were trapped in. Green could also symbolize sickness or infection, which is what happens when you touch the rock and become part of the grass.
5. There are no religious symbols in the church
Even though the sign says “chuch” and there are pews inside, there are no crosses or bibles or anything, suggesting that this is no ordinary church.
6. The song Ross was singing had a hidden meaning
The song Ross was singing as the group was walking towards what they thought was a building was called “The Midnight Special”, which was originally a folk song made popular by Creedence Clearwater Revival. According to Genius, the song was about being in prison. The lyrics say “Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me.” The Midnight Special was a train which would shine light into the prison in Sugar Land, TX as it passed. This light symbolized good luck hope for the prisoners. Ross was singing this song when he was trying to lift the spirits of the group on their way to their “escape” from their imprisonment.
7. Ross calls the grass “The Garden of Forking Paths”
When Ross tackles Cal to the ground and shows him how he has killed him many times before, he called it the “Garden of Forking Paths.” The 1948 short story “El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan,” which translates to “The Garden of Forking Paths.” The main character of the story goes walking around an unending labyrinth where time does not seem to exist. Sounds pretty familiar…
8. The religious meaning of the name Tobin
Aspiring gospel rockstar Ross was committed to his religion and his music, but when his wife got pregnant, he had to put those dreams on hold. To keep the faith alive in one sense or another, he named his son “Tobin,” which is said to mean “God is good.”
9. The first and the last shot are the same but opposites
10. At the beginning of the movie, the camera is zooming into the grass; shortly after, Becky and Cal walk into the grass. At the end of the movie, the camera is zooming out of the grass, just after Becky and Cal drive away from it.
10. The book Becky was reading parallels her life
In the car, Becky was reading Jane Erye, in which Jane gets pregnant with a man she was in a rocky relationship. Sounds like she may have been reading for more personal reasons than it seemed.
11. The dog was the only one who could figure out the grass.
Freddy was the only one who figured out how to get out of the grass by using one of the holes in the maze and without touching the rock, which has got to say something about the bunch that was trying to get out.