Going in to an “evil kid” movie, you know it’s just a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. In Come Out and Play, a low-budget remake of a 1976 Spanish cult film, the evil kids eventually do come out and play — but the wait is a bit of a drag.
Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Vinessa Shaw play young Americans who are also in a holding pattern. Beth, seven months pregnant, and husband Francis decide to enjoy some pre-baby free time by vacationing at a picturesque Mexican island. When they arrive at Punta Hueca, there are children playing and fishing off the dock. Upon further exploration of the village, Beth and Francis make an unsettling discovery: There are, seemingly, only children on the island. Where are all of the adults?
(The director of this film is a strange character called “Makinov” who seems to have one or two bones to pick with the world. In a YouTube video, Makinov shields his face beneath a hood, a la pick-your-favorite-serial-killer, and rants against modern society. During the end credits of Play, Makinov dedicates his movie to “the martyrs of Stalingrad.”)
Think what you will of Makinov the politician, the man knows how to stage a creepy scene. When children perch atop a fence lining a village street, silently watching as Beth and Francis pass by, they resemble nothing so much as the ominous crows in The Birds, at rest on a schoolyard jungle gym between attacks. Makinov, like Hitchcock, takes something that’s everyday normal — children, birds — and turns it into an object of fear. When you do something like that, you run the risk of generating unintentional laughter; to his credit, Makinov generates suspense.
But this movie is not The Birds. Despite an eerily effective soundtrack, arresting visuals, and a pair of surprising plot turns, Come Out and Play simply takes too long to get to the fun stuff. Grade: B-
Director: Makinov Cast: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, Daniel Gimenez Cacho Release: 2013
Watch the Trailer (click here)
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