Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Seen It: Come Out and Play (2012)

Having exhausted most of the "Killer Hillbilly" horror movie options available for streaming on Netflix, I've recently taken to viewing films from the "Vacation Horror" sub-genre. As is the case with any genre, you have to view a few turds (Pig Hunt, anyone?) before coming across something worthy of comment.

Another case of a terrible title and DVD
cover for quality horror film.
This morning I turned to the 2012 Makinov film, Come Out and Play starring Vinessa Shaw and Ebon Moss-Bachrach as a vacationing couple who come across a little trouble. Actually, quite a few little troubles that require a moral leap to initiate any resolution to the problem. In fact, the question at the heart of the film is also the title of a movie which many online suggest Come Out and Play is a remake of, Who Can Kill a Child? (1976). Of Both films are adaptations of the same source novel, Juan José Plan's El Juego de los Niños (The Children's Game). In addition to the shared source material though, a quick comparison between the 2012 film's trailer (posted above), and the trailer for Who Can Kill a Child (1976) suggest some shot-by-shot truth to the remake accusation.

The most common likely modern content comparison would be to any of the Children of the Corn (the original short story was published a year after Who Can...Child's release) or even The Village of the Damned (1960), as the threat to our "heroes" are children. In the case of Come Out and Play, while both leads and the director were unfamiliar to me prior to viewing, I found the premise and the setting of a small resort island near Mexico of interest. The interesting camera work, color palette and performances (especially that of male lead, Ebon Moss-Bachrach) was engrossing enough to spend the hour and twenty minutes run time.

The most jarring and controversial aspect to the movie is the manner in which children and adults resort to eliminating one another. To his credit, director Makinov (who must really want "credit" as the single name moniker is shown in HUGE letters at the beginning and end of the film) does rely on a slow burn style of building tension, and does not, at least until the end, resort to over-the-top gore. Surprisingly, the most off-putting element of the film is its title. The promotional image and title as it appears on the Netflix dashboard (also the Blur-Ray cover) both seem to suggest a direct to television movie. The quality of the film is most definitely beyond those destined for SyFy airing. (NOTE: sadly, as of 10/26/17 this film is no longer available for direct viewing on Netflix.)

I recommend this film for those who enjoy tense, well-executed and produced horror, and especially those who have NOT seen Who Can Kill a Child? This suggestion is based solely on the divided commentary and reviews online which fall into one of two camps: those who saw the original adaptation thought it redundant and unnecessary while those who came to the movie with fresh eyes found some entertainment value.

Happy horror-ible viewing!

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