Some months ago, one of my little cousins saw in my book collection the colorful cover of It, and somehow he thought it would be a great idea to read it. Of course, having read that book myself just a few weeks before, I warned him that it was NOT a children’s book, just like any of Stephen King’s books I have read so far.
In the tall grass is another very good example that Stephen King does not write stories to be read before sleep, much less if he writes in the company of his son Joe Hill, who has much less scruples when filling a blank sheet with scary stories.
And although Netflix – by the hand of director Vincenzo Natali – made some key changes to the plot to make the film less – say – uncomfortable than the original material, it is still quite terrifying, and yes, kind of confusing as well. If that happens to be the case, do not worry, because now and without further ado we will explain what happened in In the Tall Grass. Keep on reading!
1 | Is there a post-credits scene in In the Tall Grass?
If you thought that – somehow – Netflix and the director would think it was a good idea to include a scene after the credits to try to explain and clarify everything that happened on screen, I have to tell you that no, there are no post-credits scenes in In the tall grass you. So if you have any questions or doubts, just continue reading. You may find the answer you are looking for.
2 | What the hell is going on in that field of grass and what the hell is that rock in the middle of it?
Although neither Stephen King and Joe Hill’s novel, nor the film clarifies this point, there are several indications of what the rock and the field of grass really are.
In the first place, the rock is not just a rock, it is a living entity that feeds on living beings that it fuses with its own being. The rock uses each of these resources to continue functioning, such as the humans it traps and the grass field around, but these, being alive also have an expiration date so it can not use them forever and need more and more.
Keeping a field of grass around poses no problem at all, since it reproduces itself, but the issue with humans is different. Therefore it have to elaborate a strategy to catch them all.
For that strategy, the rock has two quite impressive abilities: it is capable of manipulating time and it is capable of manipulating space.
3 | But if the rock is so powerful, why is it so desperate to be touched?
That’s like Homer Simpson’s quote And if he was so smart, how comes he’s dead? For the rock, it is not about consuming the physical entity of the victim. Under the thrall of the rock, Ross stated that the physical body … is just flesh, the rock is interested in incorporating the essence of the humans it traps, and therefore requires its will.
That is why it uses the means at its disposal to convince those who come in to touch the rock in one way or another. And apparently the power with this means is impressive, as it was seen when Travis touches it and in the fact that by having one or two individuals who voluntarily decide to be part of it, the rock is open to sacrifice a greater amount of people.
4 | Where did the rock come from and what is that bunch of people trapped in its base?
One of the keys to reveal the mystery of the rock, are its inscriptions and the people that Becky saw trapped underneath .
Unlike what Ross said, and keeping in mind that Tobin warned that he was lying to convince the group to touch the stone, most likely the rock was the product of some magical ritual. The ritual perhaps involved the blessing of the harvest or the production of food in exchange for human sacrifice. However, the ritual activated something that they had not planned, and that is that the rock began to act autonomously.
The entity that woke up in the ritual, did not care at all for the production of food, but to trap human beings within it, and incorporate its essence, or its soul, trapping them in their own being, at the base of the rock forever.
5 | And what is the deal with the church?
Literally, The Church of the Black Rock of the Redeemer is the reliable proof that the rock is not as old as Ross says it is. My theory is that when the area began to be colonized and to be used for agriculture, someone, perhaps motivated by local legends, decided to perform a ritual to ensure the success of the land, but when things got out of control, people began to give a fervent fear to the place and built the church and gave it that name, perhaps because they realized that only those who made the right choices were able to get out of the thrall of the grass.
Likewise, the site where the church was built showed one of the possible exits from the grass field, as Travis demonstrated, taking Tobin precisely through the church.
6 | Who got who into the grass field?
Chronologically the first to reach the camp were the Humboldt’s – Ross, Natalie and Tobin. Ross stopped to answer a work call and then was when Tobin heard Travis calling him from the field. Tobin was scared because Travis knew who he was. Travis actually asked Tobin not to enter the field, but when Freddy, the Humboldts’ dog entered the field, Tobin followed him. Consequently, his mother and father did too.
Some time later, but for the Humboldts it was only a few hours, Cal and Becky DeMuth, stopped in front of the grass field, and they could hear Tobin asking for help, and consequently entered the field to look for him. There, they were also got lost and suffered the onslaught of the field and the rock.
After what appeared to be two months, Travis, against the advice of his acquaintances, dedicated himself to looking for Becky and Cal, on the road from Topeka to San Diego, and managed to see Cal’s car before the church, and Becky’s book next to the field, so he just got in and found Tobin. Eventually, all who have entered found themselves in the field, even though they entered months apart from each other.
The fact is that a vicious circle is built, the disappearance of Becky and Cal, makes Travis go to look for them and enter the field and there in the field it is him who calls Tobin, so that Tobin is the one who asks Becky and Cal for help.
7 | What really happened to Ross?
By touching the rock freely and voluntarily, the rock incorporated the essence of Ross into its being and, like the Borgs from Star Trek, he became part of the collective. This way, Ross, although he possessed the memories of his previous being, to the point of being able to perfectly simulate that he remained the same, acted under the command of the rock, regardless of his wife and son.
Now, it is curious that Ross has become a religious fan of the stone, worshiping it, which implies that the entity seizes the will of its victims in a way in which they gives up everything freely and especially in a way they can understand it. For Ross, the way to understand the power of the stone, was through his religious part, an important part of Ross, as he confirmed, that he had been part of a Christian Band and firmly believed in Jesus.
8 | Why it was so important that Cal didn’t hurt Travis?
Because that is the last decision that would allow him, his sister, even the Humboldts and Travis himself to get out of the tall grass and avoid dying in there. Although everyone is free to make their decisions, the grass when someone is within their area of influence, is able to tempt them, or at least to distract them, to eliminate any kind of threat to it, and that was precisely what happened. Cal could hold Travis before falling, and between the two find a solution to the problem, but Cal’s resentment exacerbated by the influence of the rock was more powerful and he finally lets Travis fall.
Cal and Travis could had found a way out of the grass field, however Cal made the wrong decision.
9 | How did Travis get Tobin out of the field?
Travis had been stuck in wrong decisions all his life: leaving school, joining a rock band, leaving Becky … however, once in the field, he managed to understand that the right decisions are not always the ones that make you feel the best at the time.
When Becky realized that Cal was able to hurt Travis, she left the clearing of the building – they had already found a way out – and she decided to go back into the field, Cal decided to follow her and there both were easy prey for Ross, and something was true, Now the grass would never let them come back.
Travis, wounded, understood that the only way to stop the cycle was to prevent Becky and Cal from entering the grass, so he touched the rock to get all its knowledge, including how to leave. Unlike Ross, Travis did not have a set of structured beliefs that allowed him to surrender completely to the rock as Ross did, and he was able to get Tobin out, just at the moment when Becky and Cal were about to enter the grass field, finally breaking the cycle.
10 | What the hell are those grass beings that surrounded Becky?
Quite simply, they are manifestations of the entity that hides behind the rock and the grass, and it could be said that it is the natural evolution of someone who voluntarily touches the stone and gives themselves completely to it, like Ross.
11 | What happened to Becky’s baby?
And this is one of the scariest parts of the movie. When Becky gave birth, and woke up, she saw in her tiredness how Cal was feeding her, only to realize that it wasn’t really Cal, but Ross, and to her deepest horror, she realized that what she was eating was not grass and seeds, as the madman was saying, but she was eating his own newborn baby.
Ross had murdered the baby and the best way to corrupt Becky and bring her to despair was to feed her with her own daughter. From there he hoped that the only solution that the woman would find not to go mad was to touch the stone.
12 | What does the final scene of In the tall grass mean? What happened to everyone?
When Travis pulls Tobin out of the grass and the boy prevents the DeMuth brothers from entering the field, the cycle is finally broken, although Travis dies from the wound that Ross inflicted on him. But did Travis really die?
Something we must understand is that every time a point is altered in time, the rest of the cycle is altered. When Tobin prevents Becky and Cal from entering the field, the chronological consequence is that, not being lost, Travis will not enter the field. So there is a version of Travis that is still out there, with his band, playing once a week at the local bar. The question is whether Becky, considering everything that happened in the field, will think about looking for Travis again.
Now, without Travis in the equation, the Humboldts should never have heard their voice before entering the field. But, as the Humboldts entered BEFORE the DeMuths in the field and since there cannot be two Tobins outside the field, it can be concluded that yes, the Humboldts are alive, but in an alternate reality, different from the one where Becky, Cal and Tobin returning to Topeka.
With this, the cycle should be broken permanently. The grass, at least with these victims, has failed.
13 | What is the message of the movie?
The main message of the film is, without a doubt, think about it before making your decisions. A bad decision could be a really high price to pay.
In the movie, the characters are trapped by their bad decisions. The Humboldts are trapped because Ross decided to stop his car to answer a work call, just in front of the grass field. Becky and Cal are trapped because Becky decided to give her baby up for adoption. Travis is trapped because he decided to leave Becky in the first place.
However, despite all the bad decisions, there will always be an opportunity to deal with these decisions, and subvert them, of course, by paying the price proportional to this. Only in real life, we will not have a black rock with rare inscriptions as motivation to do things right once and for all, everything will depend entirely on us.
If the movie is good or bad, we will discuss that later, on the review of the film. Questions? Annotations? Doubts? Insults? The comments section is open just below this post. See you in another post of Ending Explained, here on El Sabanero X.