Anyone wondering what on earth the director of the insane Martyrs would do next now has their answer. Pascal Laugier has made a quietly low-key missing-persons mystery called The Tall Man, and the first trailer has just arrived. There are a couple of posters too, one of which, like the trailer, uses the French title The Secret.
Laugier's English-language debut stars Jessica Biel as Julia, resident in the small town of Cold Rock. The town has been dead for six years, we're told in a Crow-like child's voiceover. The closing of the mines is incidental though: "Something bad had come to destroying our town even more". Er, what?
But the big bad isn't just bad grammar! That something bad is believed by the locals to be the Tall Man himself, glimpsed a couple of times in the flesh, and given a lingering shot as a drawing of a looming figure in a scrapbook. We see Biel promising her little son that she'll play with him when she gets home from work, but in a place where kids are regularly disappearing, there are inevitable complications to that plan.
The trailer speeds up the editing and throws in a rolling van later on, but it's clear that this isn't supposed to be an action-packed extravanganza. The advance word coming from festivals like SXSW is "weird". If there's a slight X-Files vibe, the presence of Stephen McHattie as Lt Dodd and cigarette smoking man William B Davis as Sheriff Chestnut only adds to it.
Phantasm fans needn't worry: the title is nothing to do with Don Coscarelli's killer balls. This Tall Man is not played by Angus Scrimm, and the kids are not being kidnapped to be turned into dwarves and used as slaves on Mars. As far as we know. Laugier has called his film "Panic Room, but outdoors." It'll see the inside of US theatres on August 31, but we don't have a UK release date yet.
We'll next see Biel in Total
Remake Recall, out in the UK on August 29. We had the pleasure of speaking to her for the new issue of Empire, out now for your iPad in the UK and the US, and on the shelves of your local newsagent as ye olde paper magazine.