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Review: Come out and Play

May 7, 2013

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


Elusive Belorussian director Makinov whose interest in Huichoi shamanism led him to previously shoot two documentaries in Mexico has stated that by punishing the ego, through anonymity, he can command the wisdom of being one with nothing. After what he describes as a near death experience, he forged a new identity and since, refers to himself simply as the mysterious Makinov. This, Come out and Play is instantly shroud in mystery as his name flashes on the screen upon the film’s opening credits and viewers instantly get a taste of what his style of film-making is going to be like.

Come out and Play follows a young couple on their last vacation together before the birth of their first child; Francis (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, who has appeared in TV shows Damages and Fringe) insists on travelling to a nearby Island, more serene than the one intended and his wife Beth (Vinessa Shaw, most recently appearing in Side Effects) reluctantly agrees. Once they arrive there, they discover that not only is it abandoned but the sole inhabitants left are children, all of which are acting very strangely. It isn’t long before Francis and Beth uncover the mystery of the disappearances and are left fighting for survival against foes that have left a trail of death and destruction in their wake.

This isn’t a particularly conventional thriller. Francis and Beth’s nightmare is heightened by the fact that the enemy is much harder to kill than one would think, more so because it is so close to home for the couple. There’s plenty of suspense and jumpy scenes, plus a large amount of violence – though not massively gory or disturbing until the end sequence and Beth’s obvious inability to run when it is especially needed makes for more heart-stopping moments.

The acting is standard – neither excellent nor horrendous but the main problem for me is that I didn’t feel like routing for the couple at any point in the film. Francis is a little bit annoying and Beth screams a lot, the latter I understand but there needed to be more to the two, more substance that generates at least a tiny bit of empathy from viewers. For instance, a scene in which something very bad happens (I won’t spoil it) should have been devastating but I didn’t care enough and the situation wasn’t dealt with in the right way – it wasn’t realistic enough.


Come out and Play ends in what I imagine is the style Makinov would like to be recognised for – different yet at the same time done by countless other directors before. It’s worth a watch and as a whole, there isn’t anything else like it but I feel it could have had just a tad more substance.

Samuel Sims

Come out and Play is both playing at selected cinemas and out on DVD now.