Film Review: Come Play

STUDIO: Focus Features | DIRECTOR: Jacob Chase | CAST: Gillian Jacobs, Azhy Robertson, John Gallagher Jr., Winslow Fegley, Jayden Marine
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 30, 2020
SPECS: PG-13 | 100 min. | Horror-thriller

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2

An eerie exercise in horror taken from an adolescent’s perspective, Come Play often plays likes junior version of Insidious, a Blumhouse-produced PG-13-rated hit that spawned a couple of sequels. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a terror tale to be these days.

Azhy Robertson (HBO’s The Plot Against America) plays Oliver, a lonely autistic boy who seems to be able to communicate with an entity that’s living inside his cellphone and tablet. Named “Larry,” the entity has the ability to manifest itself outside of the portable devices as well, controlling lamps and other electrical items. As Larry appears more consistently and frighteningly in Oliver’s life, defending him from school bullies and such, Oliver’s mother (Gillian Jacobs, I Used To Go Here) and father (John Gallagher Jr., The Miseducation of Cameron Post) must figure out how to stop the otherworldly being before it does something to their son.

Based on his short film. writer-director Jacob Chase gets the most out of finding shocks in the dark by way of some surprising jump scares and, because Oliver is non-verbal, cranking up the jolts with an expert sound design. In this respect, the film may remind audiences of A Quiet Place. Meanwhile, as Oliver, Robertson pulls off the difficult, non-speaking part convincingly, while Jacobs and Gallagher do solid work as the concerned parents.

For a PG-13 effort, Come Play delivers the maximum amount of creepiness minus the excessive gore but with enough startling scenes to satisfy teenage horror fans and beyond.

Watch Come Play

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.