Synopsis: In Come Out and Play, Beth (Vinessa Shaw) and Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a happy young couple expecting their first child, have come to Mexico for a romantic getaway. Francis insists on venturing by boat to a more serene locale, Beth hesitantly agrees. As they docs on a sun-kissed beach where children are playing and giggling, everything seems perfect at first. But as they wander the strangely empty streets, an atmosphere of unease sets in: an abandoned hotel, a distress call that repeatedly echoes from a radio set, the sense of being watched; the sound of children’s laughter drifting through the streets, but no adults in sight. When Francis witnesses the violent death of an old man (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) at the hands of a smiling little girl, a day in paradise quickly turns into a struggle for survival. Francis must protect his very pregnant wife from a pack of murderous children and get the couple off the island alive.
Release Date: March 22, 2013 MPAA Rating: PG-13
In this day and age, it appears that no horror film is excluded from the reboot trend, no matter how obscure. The rehashing of old material can sometimes be a pointless exercise in futility. Other times, a modernization is just what is needed to push a story to its limits. Such is the case with Come Out and Play, a remake of 1976’s Who Can Kill a Child? that truly benefits from its retooling.
Come Out and Play is the story of a young man named Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach from “Damages”) and his pregnant wife, Beth (Vinessa Shaw from The Hills Have Eyes), who are enjoying a vacation before their child is born. They rent a boat and head off to a secluded island for some privacy, but when they arrive they notice something strange; there appears to be no adults on the island. The children who inhabit the island are less than welcoming to the couple, stalking and following them around wherever they go. Francis and Beth soon discover that the adults on the island have all been murdered, apparently at the hands of the kids. The couple struggles to stay alive and find a way to escape the island while being assaulted relentlessly by the children.
Come Out and Play is a very faithful retelling of Who Can Kill a Child?, exploiting the same philosophical and ethical dilemmas as the original. Made almost 40 years ago, Who Can Kill a Child? is a disturbing film. Updated with modern production values and technologies, Come Out and Play is more disturbing. Taking source material from the same novel as the original, Juan Jose Plans’ “El Juego de los Ninos,” writer/director Makinov takes the creepiest and most frightening aspects of the original – the emotionless kids, the seclusion and isolation of the island, the brutality of the murders – and executes them flawlessly, improving on the original film. Come Out and Play is what a horror remake should be; it corrects the flaws in the original while staying faithful enough to do the story justice.
The ethical questions raised by Come Out and Play is what makes the film so effective. In movies, children are usually seen as harmless and innocent, and both audiences and adult characters alike are conditioned to believe that their motives and actions are pure. When a film like Come Out and Play comes along (or Who Can Kill a Child?, or Children of the Corn, etc.), it’s incredibly shocking and upsetting. It’s an interesting dichotomy; even though the audience sees the atrocities that the children commit, they still have trouble admitting that the kids deserve what comes to them. The juvenile murders in Come Out and Play are not just simply an attempt to be shocking for shocking’s sake; they raise philosophical and moral questions in the audience’s mind.
Makinov is credited as not only the screenwriter and director of Come Out and Play, but also the producer, cinematographer, editor and soundperson. It’s safe to say that Makinov has almost complete authorship of the film, and Come Out and Play is squarely his vision. Luckily for audiences, Makinov is a very talented individual. Every aspect of Come Out and Play is meticulously planned out, from the eeriness of the deserted streets on the island to the convincing performances of the cast, from the minimal sound design to the hand-held photography. Whether by choice or necessity, the auteur concept seems to work here. The many production hats that Makinov wears helps the end result – each element comes together seamlessly to make Come Out and Play a very frightening and disturbing film.
There is something inherently scary about anonymous groups of antagonists, and that’s how the kids in Come Out and Play are presented. The failure of any one child to stand out and take the lead makes the group seem like one entity, similar to the zombies in Night of the Living Dead or the infected in The Crazies. The anonymity and sheer numbers of the children give the viewer a feeling of hopelessness; no matter how many times Francis and Beth escape, there will always be a never-ending stream of evil kids for them to deal with. The concept is illustrated nicely in one scene where a woman tries to broadcast a distress signal from a radio control room. As she frantically tries to reach help on the radio, the children bang on the windows and, finally, break in the door and spill into the room. The screaming wave of children is unending. Come Out and Play isn’t a film full of cheap scares; it’s conceptually terrifying.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Makinov
- Screenwriter(s): Makinov
- Cast: Daniel Gimenez Cacho (Old Man)Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Francis)Vinessa Shaw (Beth)
- Cinematographer: Makinov
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA