Come Out and Play - Review
Prior to a DVD release in 2007, Narciso Serrador's Who Can Kill A Child? was a difficult film to obtain an legitimate copy of. If Come Out and Play, which is not only a remake of the '70s original, but a shot-for-shot imitation, had come out before 2007, it may have had more reason for existing.
Despite this, Come Out and Play is not without its chills, admittedly this has more to do with the subject matter, murderous children, than it does with the direction or the script. We follow an American couple on holiday in Mexico, just before the wife gives birth to her third child, where they end up stranded on an island swarming with killer infants. The opening half of the movie slowly cranks up the tension with creepy silhouettes darting between windows, and some out of focus kids, being about all we catch a glimpse of.
In one respect, this effort to build suspense is commendable, especially considering its virtually non-existent in modern day mainstream horror movies, where is has been replaced with buckets of gore. However, there just isn't enough for the film to capitalise on during this slow build-up. The two leads are decent, and are believable enough as your average everyday folks, but they're also boring, and since we know no more than they do, the first thirty minutes winds down to nothing but a bunch of puzzled expressions.
Of course, the latter half fails to excite all that much either. The second act gives way to chase scenes and zombie-like holdouts in rooms as this couple are assaulted on all sides by a ever growing number of seemingly unstoppable children. As the original's title suggests, the crux of the film is how you go about protecting yourself from youngsters, who you couldn't possibly harm in any way, these aren't the bloated, fly-infested corpses seen in your average horror flick. However, the film ruins this by over-emphasizing the fact, there's only so much danger you'd take before being willing to protect yourself using violence. The whole response from the two main characters comes across as phony and melodramatic, rather than providing the ethical quandary it would seem to be implying.
If that wasn't enough, the film's ending betrays this conceit entirely, by indulging the audience in a violent bloodbath, that just forty minutes ago, we were told would be unimaginable, as the husband and wife gasped in horror at the thought of harming kids. Maybe if the characterisation was there, and we could see the slow dehumanization of this married couple, like the kind of thing that Wes Craven did in Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes, then it would have more impact. However, as it stands the movie comes across hypocritical, and rather stupid.
This is a shame since, blatant copy or not, Come Out and Play evokes some sense of creepiness throughout. The sound design in particular, which involves almost silence for the most part, save for some buzzing, droning ambience, helps to draw out the tension. In the end you can have all the build-up you want but if your climax doesn't hold up then the audience is left disappointed.
If you have seen the original then it's worth repeating that there is nothing new here. Director Makinov brings nothing to new save for a re-skinned, repackaged movie that manages to be weaker than the original. If you're watching this as someone who hadn't seen the original prior to this (like me) then there's possibly something more to be gained from it. However, with Would You Kill A Child? now easily accessible on DVD there's little reason to favour this over Serrador's film.
© 2013 LudoLogic