måndag 8 mars 2021

Come Play

When i was a little boy, i remember reading comic books at night. Mostly it was The Hulk or Conan The Barbarian, but there were times when i could find a little bit more scary stuff, such as Tales From The Crypt. In my hometown, these comic books were very rare during the 80´s, so we had to get them at our local comic book store. And i especially remember one time, it must have been when i was 8 years old in 1985, the comic book owner showed me a copy of Tales From The Crypt that he have managed to get from America. He had bought in a couple of copies, because he knew they were very loved by comic book fans. They were expensive compared to ordinary comic books, but i decided to buy one. And i still remember some of the images in that comic book, how creepy some of those stories were. The comic book i owned at that time, i actually sold to a collector later on in the 90´s, and he paid good money just for one copy. The idea of being scared in bed is something we have seen in many films, such as bedtime stories being read to children, or telling them a scary story. One of the films that have managed to do this in a very effective way through a book, is the Australian horror film known as The Babadook from director Jennifer Kent. A very effective psyshological horror film about a mother named Amelia Vanek ( played really good by actress Essie Davis ) who lives with her son Samuel Vanek ( who gives one of the best acting performances i have ever seen from a child, played by actor Noah Wiseman ). Amelia is having a hard time with Samuel, since he begins displaying erratic behaviour: he becomes an insomniac and believe he have seen a monster. One night Samuel asks his mother to read a pop-up story book called Mister Babadook. Amelia see that this is no ordinary child book, and have very prutal pop-up images. Samuel becomes more convinced that the Babadook is real. This film is not only very well made, but deliver some incredible disturbing acting performances. And it is the bedtime story that really feels creepy, with the odd figure know as Mister Babadook that works so well from a horror perspective. I suggest you pick up the film on DVD or Blu Ray from the UK, and check out the special features as well. There are not many horror films these days coming out that tries to bring in the subject of bedtime stories, until i discovered Come Play on Blu Ray. A horror film from director Jacob Chase ( who directed the short film called Larry, and this is where he got his idea to make a full feature film on this creature ), that seems to have an interesting plot. Is this a horror film that should be discovered by more people, or should we let Come Play be forgotten in DVD and Blu Ray shelves?

Oliver ( Azhy Robertson ) is a very intelligent child with autism, but he can´t speak with his voice. So to communicate, he uses a speaking program on his mobile phone. Unfortunately, he have no friends at school and is bullied a lot. So he uses technology to do things that he loves to do, and this helps him develope as well. One night he see on his mobile phone a story, about a lonely figure called Larry. He have no idea how this story just appeared on his phone, since he did not download it. But as soon as he starts reading another page of the story, strange things begin to happen in Oliver´s home.

Come Play manage to do something unique, combine the classic bedtime story concept with modern technology. And this is actually a really good idea, if you want to tell a scary story with a different approach. One of the things you will find out later in the film, is that the odd figure called Larry, is actually really creepy looking. It is hard to explain what he looks like exactly, but imagine a long legged Gollum with a very destinctive body figure. There is especially one detail that is important with this film, and that is the character of Oliver, ( played by child actor Azhy Robertson ), who have autism. The scenes where he uses his mobile phone to communicate with people, show that he is no different from any other child. He can say what´s on his mind, he just uses technology to get his thoughts out. Child actor Azhy Robertson does a really good job portraying Oliver, considering this character have autism. To be able to do that as a child, is not easy. And for that reason i applaud you Azhy, well done. How about the other characters? Actress Gillian Jacobs ( thso most of you know from the comedy TV series Community ), deliver the strongest performance of the adult characters as Sarah. You can tell that she is suffering, when she sees her son struggle with many different things, both from being bullied in school, and with his personal issues. Actor John Gallagher Jr. ( who i especially remember from Cloverfield Lane ) also deliver a solid performance as Oliver´s father Marty. So how does the horror influences work together in a film like this one, that combines different ideas? I would say that they actually work better than i expected, considering that they use a book in a computer ( instead of a physical book ), and manage to capture the creepy atmosphere with this strange creature called Larry. Director Jacob Chase clearly knew how to combine the classic concept of bedtime stories, but give it a more modern touch. He also managed to create a creature that works pretty well. This is a well crafted horror film, from start to finish, that will most likely be enjoyed by horror fans of all ages. One thing is for sure, i am not reading any books online from now on, not after watching Come Play.

Rating: DDD

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