Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Come Play (2020) Universal Studio Blu Ray Review

Come Play (2020) Universal Studios 1/26/2021

Directed By: Jacob Chase 

Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Azhy Robertson, John Gallagher Jr, Rachel Wilson, Winslow Fegley 

Disclaimer: Universal Studios has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 

   Come Play is one of those brain-stabbingly frustrating movies. Frustrating because there are some really interesting elements at 'play' that are never fully explored. I think the idea of not only having a protagonist on the spectrum but also going out of their way to make it grounded and realistic goes a long way to flipping the script on 'kids-in-danger' troupes. I also think Chase is bold in folding in a parental drama and showcasing how Oliver's parents are navigating the challenges of raising a non-speaking child with autism. I have often said that blending horror with drama can be tricky, but I think for the most part Come Play's horror and drama intersects nicely without feeling tacked on. 

   The young Azhy Robertson is tasked with bringing a non-verbal character to life something that even seasoned adult actors might have a hard time with. Thankfully, Robertson's Oliver is overall well developed and sways from chilling to heartbreaking. Similarly, Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr are fantastic as the world weary parents. They honestly do the best with some of the eye-twitchingly bad dialogue they have to spout at times (more on that later).  Even the other child actors are solid performers. 

   This is sadly where my positivity runs out and my deep frustration sets in. This film for all its engaging ideas sadly falls back on tired horror troupes all but undercutting its interesting premise. Countless critics have rightly pointed out that Come Play cribs a lot from the fantastic psychological thriller The Babadook (2014). However, Chase forgets that what made Babadook so frightening is its less-is-more character driven story. Now, to be fair I will give the film props for having some actually compelling moments but, it also falls back on lazy-jump scares and badly rendered CG effects. The movie also saddle's itself with at times clunky dialogue that ranges from genetic to bad. Writer, director Jacob Chase seems to be suggesting that screens are bad-not so subtly every screen gets smashed-yet earlier in the movie it sets up that phones and tablets are incredibly helpful to someone like Oliver. 
 I might be able to forgive this if it had not been for a third act that feels rushed and sloppy writing wise. 

Come Play is a movie that has the building blocks to be a solid, engaging and original film but sadly, Jacobs stacks them in a very familiar way. It's a shame because in a better storytellers hands I could see this being a classic in the making. 

Picture: Come Play comes to HD in a ratio of 2:39:1. The film a bit of a drab color palate but the movie makes the most of this darker tones.  Night and darkly lit scenes are in my opinion handled well with a nice retainment of detail. If I had to raise an issue it would be that the noise levels are a bit high at times but, nothing that I felt was distracting.  Overall, there is a nice amount of clarity and detail in costumes, sets etc.

Sound: Come Play isnt playing around with its lossless DTS 5.1 track. This track packs a big punch when it comes to the films loud, jump scare moments and bone chilling strings. Furthermore the track offers a nice complex sound for those with a surround system. 

Extras: None 

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