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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Review: Come Play

Director: Jacob Chase

Screenplay: Jacob Chase

Year: 2020

Technology, or being more specific, smartphones are present in our day to day and have managed to squeeze into horror cinema. There have been a few movies released in this genre where a smartphone is the centerpiece of the plot, as in “A.M.I.” and “Apparition”. Because of these devices’ capabilities, we often feel like they have a mind of their own but, what if this was true?

Oliver is a solitary kid with speech issues who has found a solution to both problems in technology. Oliver doesn't know that a creature from another world, who is as lonely as he is,  manifests in his technological devices. The creature is trying to find a way to get into Oliver's world to be his friend forever.

It is not easy to ignore the messages that the director and screenwriter Jacob Chase presents in his movie. On the one hand, he shows the dynamics of a couple with a special needs child and how their relationship has eroded by how both respond to this and the difficulties the boy has. On the other hand, the moralist theme about being consumed in technological devices and how it makes us feel increasingly isolated is always present and manifests as a dangerous creature.

A plot that promises to be exciting and innovative develops around these topics but falls prey to horror movie clichés. The effort for making the social commentary as evident as possible or to introduce a horror scene or a jump scare makes the scenes feel disjointed and introduces too many plot holes and inconsistencies in the plot. Characters that suddenly change their personality, different rules for presenting the creature, or stretches that simply make no sense, "Come Play" does what's necessary for moving the plot in the direction it wants with the purpose of showing a not effective horror scene that looked a lot better in paper or to scold the viewer about living empty lives because of the constant use of screens.

In the horror aspect, "Come Play" succumbs to several genre clichés that make its horror scenes predictable and ineffective. The design of the creature known as Larry is excellent, but it doesn't feel like a terrifying creature. It seems like the PG-13 rating and having a cast of kids limits what you can do with a creature like this, and the scenes in which something horrifying could have been done with the creature end up in an attempt at a jump scare that doesn't necessarily achieve its task.

"Come Play" was advertised as the new box office success, following the steps of other indie films that achieved this feat, like “The Wretched” and “Becky”. However, "Come Play" doesn't have what made these movies successful, a well-developed novel idea. What seems to be an innovative idea on this movie’s plot ends up being a generic idea that produces a generic and ineffective horror movie, one of those we get too many of each year.

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