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Come Play film review

★★★

Directed by: Jacob Chase

Written by: Jacob Chase

Starring: Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr.

Film Review by: Chris Olson

 

Come Play (2021) Film Review


Come Play still
Come Play still

Based on his short film Larry, filmmaker Jacob Chase brings us a feature-length version of his tale of possessed technology with the 2021 horror movie Come Play.


At the centre of the story is a family of three, mum Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), dad Marty (John Gallagher Ji.) and their autistic and mute son Oliver (Azhy Robertson). The family is going through a tumultuous period, with Marty in the midst of moving out of the house due to the failing nature of his marriage - largely due to the pair’s inability to agree on how to look after Oliver - whose lack of language and friends is becoming increasingly distressing for everyone.


Searching for a friend in a strange app on his phone, Oliver meets Larry - a nightmarish creature who also is looking for friends. Soon, Larry is wreaking havoc by exploiting the family’s abundance of screens which he uses to find friends.


With some impressive visual moments and an effectively unsettling sound design, Come Play follows all the usual plot points for a solid genre piece. It has similarities to 2016’s excellent A Monster Calls, in particular the emotional attachment the audience creates with the central character. Sadly, the flimsy premise fails to stay charged for the duration of the film, resulting in a lacklustre final third which felt like a Goosebumps episode.


With a 15 certificate, Come Play suffers from a lack of tonal awareness.

The film has some genuinely scary moments, especially in the early section of the film, but as the plot becomes overburdened with relying on apps and screens to flesh out its menacing character, the film loses its sense of peril, instead becoming gimmicky and tiresome. Having not seen the original short film, I can definitely see this really working as a potent smaller piece. Stretched out like this, it sadly just doesn’t work as well.


Points for trying and some great individual moments, it’s 3 stars on the App Store here.






 

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