Come Out and Play (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
With this review I could rattle on about remakes, and whether they are pointless or what have you, but I shan’t; there’s no point. With some films I can sort of understand this argument, regardless of whether I agree or not, with the likes of Dawn of the Dead or A Nightmare on Elm Street being very high in the consciousness of genre fans. However, the 1976 movie, Who Can Kill a Child? is not one of those movies. Yes, it has its fans, but I assure you that there are many who have never even heard of it, let alone seen it. Hence the minimal amount of dissention flying around the web about director Makinov’s update of this vicious little tale.
First off, I would definitely like to commend the powers that be of the title change. In light of recent events, to retain the original moniker of Who Can Kill a Child? would probably be commercial suicide. Sure, it’s a film and has no bearing or relevance to any events in the real world, but there will always be those that would see it in bad taste. Personally speaking I like the name of Come Out and Play; it lends a frivolity to the horrific acts that are portrayed. When you think of children, you invariably think of the fun and games they have; they are kids, they should play. The games here though are anything but frivolous. Like I said, I like the title and think it fits nicely.
The film itself follows the plot of the 1976 film fairly religiously, with a young couple renting a boat in order that they can vacation on a remote island. Upon arriving there they discover that the island is seemingly abandoned of all adults. There are children on the island, in fact they are greeted, so to speak, by a group of them. But, adults are very few and far between, especially ones that are alive.
Come Out and Play is almost the ultimate killer kid movie; there’s not just one protagonist, instead every single child has murderous intentions, and as a movie it reminded me a lot of Romero’s Dead movies, especially Night and Dawn. Only this time, instead of hordes of the undead, we are subjected to a horde of virtually faceless children. I could draw fault with the fact that it was a case of the two ‘gringo’s’ against a mass of Mexicans, but I don’t feel that was Makinov’s intentions. Instead I believe he was just playing on the fish out of water scenario of placing folk in an alien landscape.
The film itself is very well paced, with an almost pedestrian opening half an hour or so; we know things are going to hit the fan, but we aren’t sure when, how or to what extent. When the film really kicks into gear it does so in quite a savage and brutal manner, and puts a further twist on the film’s title. I was actually surprised at how nasty, and bleak, the film actually got.
I personally thought the film looked very good, with the use of scenery and location being spot-on; the rich colors shone through beautifully throughout. One thing that I was especially impressed with was the sound design. It was subtle, but if you watch this with surround sound, or a good set of headphones, you will notice some incredible subtleties to the sound, which only heightened the atmosphere of the film.
The build-up in Come Out and Play is nicely done, and the performances from the cast are all pretty good. I did question some of the lead characters actions, which resulted in me wanting to slap the scriptwriter; why would you ask your pregnant wife to stay on her own when there are killers on the loose? The ending, whilst wonderfully brutal, did echo shades of Romero’s Night, which was a little disappointing, but that does not take away from the power of the closing 20 minutes or so.
Overall, Come Out and Play was a most enjoyable movie. Maybe it will inspire folk to check out the 1976 original? Who knows? Regardless of whether or not this happens, this was a film that is worth your time, despite its flaws, and just goes to show that a film can stick pack a punch without having to resort to overt shock tactics.
Come Out and Play is released by New Video and is available on VOD now, with a theatrical release set for March 22nd. It will hit Blu-ray and DVD on June 18th.