“COME OUT AND PLAY” (Movie Review)
[This review was initially published out of Fantastic Fest in September 2012, it is reposted below in light of the film's theatrical and VOD release.]
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 PLAY.
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.