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Come Play (2020)

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Going into watching Come Play (2020), written and directed by Jacob Chase, I knew nothing except that a monster of sorts is trying to communicate, or rather haunt, a child through technology and electricity. I shrugged and said, “why not?” and Come Play did not disappoint. The main character is a child with autism named Oliver, played by Azhy Robertson, and this young actor knocks the role out of the park. He is frankly one of the only characters worth liking for the majority of the movie.

We jump right into the action from the beginning and there is amazing use of unique effects to instill fear in watchers aside from just scary images and voices. The monster, Larry, communicates mostly through a story on devices such as iPhones and iPads called, “Misunderstood Monsters,” that builds on itself throughout the movie. Viewers quickly learn that his parents struggle with raising a child with autism due to their lack of understanding and empathy on the mother’s part and a lack of agency and maturity on the father’s.

Through the use of horrifying crunching and moaning noises as well as flickering lights and the ability to only see the monster, Larry, through phone and tablet cameras. At one point we even see Oliver using a distance measuring tool to indicate that Larry is swiftly approaching Oliver to attack.

The Misunderstood Monster, Larry, apparently wants a friend and has decided that Oliver is that friend. He’s lonely and by Oliver taking his hand he plans to take Oliver away from this cruel, lonely, phone obsessed world, because Larry has identified that Oliver is a lonely kid. Oliver is indeed that, facing bullying at school and incessant pressure from his mom to “be normal” as if she is anything but abnormal herself. His mom, played by Gillian Jacobs, goes as far as to alienate Oliver from his only friend by lying to his friend, Byron’s mom after an incident between the two boys. As infuriating as it is to watch Oliver be bullied by that former friend, Byron, played by Winslow Fegley, in the early parts of the movie the performance by Fegley and the other young actors in his band of bullies are amazingly talented.

The storytelling is smooth and makes sense throughout, the acting performances are great all around, and the main character is very lovable. Even his mother does a redeeming thing by sacrificing herself and taking Larry’s hand instead of Oliver at the end. That scene is horrifying in itself but the movie has countless moments of terror throughout. The pacing of these frights flows well and comes together at the end to make the story of Larry make sense.

This movie is a good find and worth the watch if you’re interested in a good story, good acting, and some clever and creative scares.

Recommended score: 8/10

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