Jessica Biel : Julia Denning
Stephen McHattie : Lt. Dodd
William B. Davis : Sheriff Chestnut
Also known as: The Secret
Cold Rock, USA. Over the years children have disappeared without a clue or any witness. Superstitious people talk about “The tall man,” a legendary, mysterious figure who takes children who are never seen again. Julia Denning, a nurse at Cold Rock, doesn’t believe in that legend. Until one night She wakes up with an eerie feeling. When she goes to the bedroom of her son, she discovers that he is gone. She runs down and is suddenly stiffened: a large, dark figure is standing in her doorway with her son David in his hands …
The system is broken, it doesn’t work.
What a mediocre story ! If you assume that you’re going to get some horror then you’ll be quite disappointed. The beginning had a little presumption that it goes in that direction. Eventually, we end up in the middle of a story where a moralistic and child-friendly organizations main objective is to improve the world. I saw on IMDb that this film got as labeling the genres crime, drama and mystery . I saw already in the beginning that it’s about crime with those police cars speeding around with the sirens on and an older guy in a long trench coat , which is usually the cliche equipment of a special agent of some federal organization . I don’t know where i can find the drama or the mystery. The end was kind of a drama (not in a positive way) and it’s a mystery to me how I could watch it till the end. I saw that it was directed by Pascal Laugier , the creator of the controversial film “Martyrs”, and others say there are similarities with this movie. I still need to watch “Martyrs”, but to be honest I don’t dare to, after reading several reviews and warnings about the extreme and explicit images. I’m used to a lot, but I keep postponing it to watch it. Hopefully “Martyrs” isn’t by far like this movie otherwise it also will be a disappointment.
Once again, the start was promising . Cold Rock has first of all a creepy atmosphere . A kind of “Twin Peaks” village , with rather dark and creepy people. Morale has reached a low point by the closure of the mine causing unemployment and poverty . Additionally there’s the disappearing of the children. According to rumors, this is all the fault of a certain “Tall Man” . A myth apparently. The beginning, the 30 hours flashback and then back to the starting point, I thought was an extremely smart job. The part with the pursuit of Julia after the (alleged) “Tall Man” , was entertaining and exciting. As the chase lasted, her injuries were more and more serious and bloody. Now I expected a story change. But then the plot twists start and everything and everybody is now a suspect.
Before you know it, you’re looking totally disoriented at the screen, completely astray and lost. I realized at a certain time I didn’t have the faintest idea what it was about. First there is the kidnapping by the “Tall Man”. Then you think the whole retarded, by inbred dying community, is on the same team as the “Tall Man”. Then the real mother of the kid appears and gives a plausible explanation.Then Julia is the suspect and seems to be the one behind all the kidnapping. And suddenly there is a huge cave system which you can enter through her basement. Subsequently a teenage girl disappears again while Julia is in custody. Duhuh ?? And at the end you get a clearer picture and it turns out to be a “Mother Theresa” kind of organization that wants to take care of disadvantaged, abused and neglected kids to have a better life So many twists in the story, it would make even the most experienced merry go round operator nauseous and dizzy.
Technically, not everything was bad. Jessica Biel showed a decent performance. It was stunning to see how her emotional personality changed dramatically from one moment to another. Jodelle Ferland has a key role but, as her personage, there’s not much to say about her. Stephen McHattie played his familiar role as a lawman and occurred a few times in the movie. The Photographic part looked groomed and clearly. Even the night shots were accurate and watchable. Mostly those images are an annoyance for me in most movies .
Conclusion : not many thrills, absolutely no horror or any frights, a terribly vague and confusing story with twists and a totally ambiguous and unreal end. Only positive thing about the end is that everything eventually becomes clear. For me, a complete disappointment.
Links : IMDB