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On the surface, COME OUT AND PLAY is simply a flat, soulless
remake of one of the killer kid greats, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? Coupled with
one-named director Makinov’s bullshit, it’s a joke.
Prior to the film’s Fantastic Fest premiere, a video
introduction from Makinov, a mysterious filmmaker who supposedly lives out a
daily life with a hood on his head to remain anonymous, was played. I have no
idea whether the brief piece will play alongside the film’s general release,
but as it did not seem specifically crafted for the crowd in Austin—if
anything, it has a bit of a general manifesto feel—it seems likely the bit will
pop up somewhere. [Note: You can watch the video here] And truthfully, it is irrelevant to the quality of the movie
itself. Most audiences don’t peek behind the scenes often, but having been
privy to the ridiculous display of unearned arrogance, it transforms a tepid
remake into an irritating experience.
Makinov, whoever he may be, has promised to push boundaries,
make painful cinema and would have you believe that he is searching for bleak
transgression of some sort. Prefacing a killer kid film in such a way certainly
gives a moment of pause. The subgenre has always been a fiery one, casting
children in wildly negative lights, and then often subsequently killing them
off. You can see why it’s an acquired taste. So, would Makinov, in his
anarchist aesthetic, address the taboo with guns blazing?
That’s the short answer, and likely the only one as the
reason I’ve wasted 200 or so words on the director’s video introduction so far,
is because there is that little to say about the end result of COME OUT AND
Mostly a beat-for-beat retread of Narcisco Ibáñez Serrador’s
1976 thriller, Makinov’s is boring recitation. You don’t feel much of anything
throughout, and it looks like neither do leads Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Vinessa
Shaw (who tore us apart in Alex Aja’s HILLS HAVE EYES redo). Removed from the
original, the film’s stunning Mexican locations could be mistaken for style or
grace, but is just crisp, competent photography of gorgeous landscape. There’s none of the
heat, suspense, dread or warped atmosphere of an island now run by murderous children
(especially how it looks to a couple expecting one of their own). A shame, as
you’re left unsurprised and unmoved during what should be COME OUT AND PLAY’s
grotesque, intimate peak.
Both his manifesto and COME OUT AND PLAY see Makinov do
nothing more than spin wheels.
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