This remake of Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s 1976 Who Could Kill A Child? falls into the good, but not quite good enough category.
While the original film isn’t exactly one of the best-known horrors of the era, it’s an excellent little chiller and has earned its reputation as a minor cult classic. Makinov’s remake is a faithful, glossier, gorier update that’s perfectly fine but doesn’t stray from the beaten track.
Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Beth (Vinessa Shaw) are taking a holiday before their first child is born. They decide to take travel over to a small island for a few days, but when they arrive they realise that it’s nearly entirely deserted; the only people around are children.
As the pair become increasingly unnerved by the absence of adults, they realise that they have stepped into a terrifying situation.
When we call Come Out And Play glossy, it’s not intended as an insult. There’s some great photography as Makinov conveys the heat and isolation and the ever-rising threat levels. But the problem is that anyone who’s seen the original will know what’s coming. Despite the excellent cinematography and the strong performances, there are no surprises to be found here unless you don’t know the story.
Taken on its own merits, Come Out And Play is a fairly creepy and effective chiller.
Makinov plays the tension well, with a slow build towards the revelation of what exactly is going on. He also, for the most part, takes the less-is-more approach when it comes to the violence, giving us quick glimpses and sound effects to let our imagination do the rest.
There are good performances from Moss-Bachrach (Lola Versus) and Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes), creating a likeable and believable pair to root for, although the script doesn’t really tell us much about the characters.
Most of the film’s best moments, like the explanation for the radio message that keeps repeating, are taken directly from the original, which Makinov is obviously a fan of, as he sticks closely to his source (although the pinata scene has been switched for something less grotesque); so close, in fact, that it’s only really worth a look if you haven’t seen Who Could Kill a Child?
It’s a decent update of a chilling story, but it doesn’t really add anything.