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The Tall Man

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In just under two hours, a 36-hour ordeal is told, focusing on Julia (Jessica Biel, Total Recall), a free-clinic nurse turned supermom when her Chucky doll-looking son is kidnapped by The Tall Man. He drives a rusty van that practically screams "child molester."

I'll give the film by writer/director Pascal Laugier (Martyrs) this: It throws a big narrative wrench into the film about 40 to 45 minutes in, and one I didn't see coming. But that's all I'll give it, because in doing so, the film is taken from generic thriller to something resembling a really well-lensed made-for-Lifetime movie. OK, I'm exaggerating, yet the hard shift in genres willingly and knowingly trades mild suspense for a preachy social message, and Biel is as blank as the title is generic. —Rod Lott

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