Come Out and Play (2012)

Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: ,

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Running Time: 95 mins

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: David Gillespie – Official HCF Artist

Who Can Kill a Child (1976) <aka Island of the Damned, Death is Child’s Play) is one of those forgotten, horror gems that most fans of the genre no nothing or very little about. I was lucky enough to stumble across the film many years ago and was impressed by the creepy tone and sense of dread throughout the production. Similar to horror flicks such as The Children (2008), Children of the Damned (1964) and Children of the Corn (1984) it focusses on youngsters taking it upon themselves to rid the land of adults. With remakes being the fashionable outlet these days, it isn’t surprising that a mysterious, masked director called Makinov has revamped the story penned by Juan Jose Plans.

Come out and Play begins with a young couple called Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Beth (Vinessa Shaw) travelling to a scenic but remote Mexican island as part of their vacation. Beth is heavily pregnant but Francis is convinced that they will both love this South American paradise. When they arrive at the town they realise that there does not appear to be any adults around, just children. They take refuge at the local hotel and soon hear the distressed but distorted tones of a woman crying for help through the radio. After witnessing a mob of psychotic tykes clubbing an old man to death, the couple decide that it might be wise to cut their vacation short and get the hell out of there. When they stumble across a survivor (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), he warns them that the night before the local children woke up from their beds screaming and then proceeded to annihilate any adult in their vicinity.  None of the adults could bring themselves to retaliate as in most cases it was sons and daughters that were doing the attacking.


Joining the plethora of pointless remakes that have hit the big screen over the last ten years, Come Out and Play does have the defence that so many horror fans missed out on seeing the original the first time around. Although the film is no disaster, a remake sinks or swims regards the new ideas or material that it brings to the table and regrettably Makinov’s project does not have enough of these moments. The director wisely begins the story slowly with numerous, eerie shots of the deserted town. When the action does eventually hit the screen the impact is all the more powerful for this patient build-up. Makinov never seems to go for cheap jump scares and opts for atmosphere and dread. He also shoots most of the action from the couple’s perspective so you never know when they are going to run into trouble. The only scenes that don’t feature Frances and Beth are a brief sequence showing a Dutch tourist being overpowered by the youths and a gory and unsettling dissection party exhibiting the type of activities the children partake in when not pummelling their parents.

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Bachrach and Shaw are both likeable as the young couple yet we don’t learn anything about their characters. I would have expected to fear for the safety of the expectant mother and her unborn child yet due to the story failing to flesh out her character it is hard to empathize. Perhaps the only sequence that moved me was when Cacho’s character is coaxed out of safety by the pleas of his ‘infected’ daughter. He knows that he is likely to die but can’t stop himself from comforting her. The movie’s greatest assets are the creepy performances of the children. They attack their prey in swarms and have a demonic presence whenever on camera. Some of the final set pieces are handled well and the original’s bleak twist is kept intact and has lost none of its power.

Come Out and Play is a worthy remake of the 1976 original with frequent shocks and solid performances, yet I would opt for Who Can Kill a Child as the superior movie and the one to watch if given the choice.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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About DAVID GILLESPIE 169 Articles
Fighting for clean bathrooms and restrooms since 1974.

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