The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Come Out & Play | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Come Out & Play

An American couple become trapped on a Mexican island inhabited by homicidal children.

Directed by: Makinov
Starring: Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, Daniel Giménez Cacho

Francis (Moss-Bachrach) and his pregnant wife Beth (Shaw) are taking the opportunity to holiday in Mexico before the birth of their child. Hearing of a tranquil island, Francis hires a boat and the couple leave the mainland. When they arrive they find children playing at the dock but no sign of any adults anywhere on the island. At first they assume everyone has left for a carnival but when Francis witnesses the brutal murder of an elderly man at the hands of a group of children, it becomes apparent something sinister is occurring on the island.
Though it's mentioned nowhere in the marketing, 'Come Out & Play' is a remake of Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's 1976 Spanish horror movie 'Who Can Kill a Child?'. (The line is even uttered by a character in this version). Stephen King's short story, 'Children of the Corn', later adapted into a long running movie franchise, also borrows heavily from Serrador's film. In Makinov's remake, the English couple holidaying in Spain are replaced by an American couple in Mexico, but it's essentially the same movie, or rather an inferior copy. Serrador attempted a commentary on the effects of war on the young, but, despite dedicating his film to "the martyrs of Stalingrad", Makinov has little interest in anything other than cheap shock tactics.
The film is devoid of suspense or tension, with much of the running time spent following characters wander around the island with no concessions made toward mood or atmosphere. Attempting to make children seem terrifying is a tough ask for any film-maker but Makinov completely fails to convince us that his young antagonists pose any tangible threat. A few years ago, the British film 'The Children' tread similar ground but added dramatic weight by having its killer kids the children of the film's protagonists. There's no such quandary for the lead couple of 'Come Out & Play'. As we have no investment in these children, they may as well be zombies or any other type of movie monster.
What could have been an interesting look at what happens when survival wrestles with morality is instead just another by the numbers horror remake.
3/10