In addition to its psychological thrills, Netflix's In the Tall Grass very much relies on its physical horrors. We're talking about not only the movie's dead bodies, but also the towering blades of grass that make the characters look like the creatures in A Bug's Life. Based on Stephen King and Joe Hill's horror novella of the same name, the film looks as though it were shot in America's heartland. But here's a surprise: In the Tall Grass was actually filmed in Canada.
Like season three of The Handmaid's Tale, the Netflix movie, helmed by sci-fi director Vincenzo Natali, was shot in the beautiful Canadian landscape. The most remarkable visual imagery in this movie is the grass. While it's creepy, it's not all CGI. Most of the filming took place on a grass farm in Ontario, and some parts took place on a soundstage that was transformed with tall green blades.
But even for those not allergic to it, filming in the grass isn't easy. The grass that the filmmakers wanted to use didn't grow fast enough, so they used miscanthus, which cuts because it's serrated. Still, roughing it in the grass was worth it for the art, according to Laysla De Oliveira, who plays Becky.
"In the studio, it's a little easier because they built paths for us," she said in an interview with SyFy. "But then we have the physically demanding aspect of being in the cold mud and rolling around. What I will say is it helps with the emotionally heightened state that we are in in the movie. No acting required in that part. We are truly miserable, but when we get to see how it looks, that trumps everything."
Another important part of the film is the eerie church next to the grass. For the creepy building of worship, the filmmakers scouted out an old abandoned church in Stratford, Ontario. The structure certainly served its purpose as a place of refuge, albeit an unsettling one, next to the sprawling field of grass.
And of course, we have to talk about the bowling alley. About halfway through the movie, the group finds refuge in an abandoned bowling alley in the grass. The scene is shot at the modest Elmira Bowl, a small establishment in Ontario. The Observer reported that construction crews also stopped by to give the building a "grungier look." It makes sense, given that the story, after all, takes place in some pretty creepy, dirty grass. In addition to changing the name of the alley to "Bowl-A-Drome," they also added touches such as a giant bowling pin and ball in the front.
Even if it's mostly just grass, the spooky set design of In the Tall Grass will still make you look twice when you step out onto your lawn. If you're trying to forget the creepy cinematography in this Netflix flick, it might be time to wash your brain out with some of our favourite lightweight horror movies.