Come Out and Play (Makinov, 2012)
I first heard about the Spanish exploitation/horror flick Who Can Kill a Child? When Eli Roth touted it in a Five Films segment on the late (and much-lamented, at least at Goat Central) Rotten Tomatoes Show. At the time—this was probably five years ago now as I write this in November 2013—it was pretty much impossible to find in the United States Fast-forward to 2013 and I still haven’t managed to catch the original. Unfortunately, I was unaware that Come Out and Play, directed by one Makinov (rumor has it this is Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo under a pseudonym, but I have not seen firm confirmation of that yet), was a shot-by-shot remake of Who Can Kill a Child? until I was about ten minutes into it. By that time I figured I would give it a shot, no pun intended. While I watched, I half-perused the vitriol unleashed at the movie on the IMDB message boards. I didn’t hate it nearly as much as a lot of people did, it would seem. But then, I repeat, I haven’t seen the original. For all I know they are completely justified, and let’s face it, how often are shot-by-shot remakes successful? (Let’s put aside the woeful remakes that would have been infinitely better had their directors opted for that approach.)
Plot: the members of The Offspring… no, I kid (though I have had that song going through my head for hours now). A young married couple, Francis (The Lake House‘s Ebon Miss-Bachrach) and Beth (Vinessa Shaw from the The Hills Have Eyes remake), are taking one last vacation before they become parents, looking to get away from it all on a secluded island. When they get there, they notice a few kids fishing on the pier, but don’t see any adults. They think nothing of it and head for their hotel, which is, again, oddly deserted. Eventually they realize there’s a pattern here.
My favorite thing about the movie, by far, was Makinov’s attempts to get that seventies vibe going. There’s a scene where a character is trapped in a radio hut with frosted windows, and you see hands banging the windows over and over again. That’s nice stuff, right there, and for the most part there was no attempt to go young-and-beautiful with this cast (that would have actually not made a great deal of sense—after all, if your “adults” are only a few years older than your kids…). That, too, contributes to the seventies atmosphere. On the other hand, and this may seem contradictory, one of the few reasons one would consider watching a remake instead of just going back and watching the original is seeing how a director will take advantage of the updated technology available thirty-five years later to come up with gorier special effects. And yes, I’m the first to admit I’d probably be yelling at him for destroying the atmosphere if he actually had, but I end up asking the usual question: why did this movie need to get made in the first place?
It’s rather pretty, save some ridiculous, overdone scenes (wait till you see the hilarious opening shot of the end credits), and the acting is at least competent, but there’s nothing here that would set this apart from about three hundred other horror films currently on Netflix Instant that either never made it to theaters in your area or never made it into theaters at all, and they all have the advantage of not being remakes. This is one of those “if you’re drunk and have nothing better to do on a Friday night…” selections. **