Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
February 1st, 2006

Come Out and Play

Come Out and Play
Directed by Makinov
Written by Makinov, Juan Jose Plans
Starring Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Vinessa Shaw
105 mins

With a name like "Come Out and Play," you're likely either expecting a movie about killer children or about The Offspring, one of the two. Sadly, Dexter Holland was nowhere to be found here, and it might well have been better if he had been around.

"Come Out and Play" introduces us to Beth and Francis, young marrieds who've gone off on a grand vacation together to a middle-of-nowhere island region. The two are out for what is to be their last vacation as young marrieds, as Beth is currently carrying what seems to be their newest child. On the island, a strange twist presents itself. There are a whole lot of kids on the island...but oddly enough, no adults. At first, it's easy to explain away--a recent festival took place on the island and laid the adults low--but it quickly becomes apparent that something is much more wrong than anyone expected, and may well mean the end of Beth and Francis.

Exciting idea? You betcha. We've seen movies with killer kids before. I'm still freaked out by "Home Movie," and between "The Children," "Ils," and even "Children of the Corn," there were certainly opportunities to capitalize on a long and storied tradition of truly bonkers horror filmmaking. Throw on the fact that this was a Mexican import--no, seriously--and that gave it an even better potential. And then, just to top off this cavalcade of potential, throw in the fact that it is, at last report, a remake of "Who Can Kill a Child?". Yeah, that's pretty much everything you need to make one seriously screwed up horror flick.

I'm always a little freaked out by horror movies involving killer children in some way. After all, they put two of our biggest psychological constants--the urge to protect ourselves and the urge to protect children--at loggerheads. We want to protect children; for the most part this urge is ingrained in our very makeup--but we also want to protect ourselves. What do we do when the threat comes from children?

Of course, it didn't help that the language track promised me English, yet nary a word of the tongue was spoken for the entirety of the first three minutes. Afterward, subtitles provided blissful relief, and eventually English service was restored, but for those three minutes, I was utterly lost. Not cool, guys.

It took this one a little time to get going, and frankly, it never really went as far as it might have. There were some very fine bits here that really put some hope in the rest of the movie, but frankly, "Come Out and Play" never really managed to get past sinister and make it into actually scary. I think a large part of the problem is it wasn't sufficiently overt. The movie has an implied body count of several hundred but a witnessed body count of up around four, making it a little too implicit and not enough explicit. It's still good, well worth watching and more than a little creepy, but it just doesn't quite have the impact that many were likely hoping for going in.

Special features here include audio options, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, an electronic press kit and a trailer for "Come Out and Play".

"Come Out and Play" is a great idea executed in a less than satisfying fashion. This could have gone quite a bit better with a little less conversation and a little more action, to quote Elvis, but it's hard to fault this very hard. It did passably well, and though it wasn't as scary as it might have been with a bit of tooling up, the end result is still worth checking out.