The Reel Review
Oliver, a lonely, isolated boy with autism, finds himself in danger after he is contacted through his smartphone by a lonely spirit from another dimension in this family in peril mystery/horror. Gradually, the boy’s parents realize that this entity wants to take their son. Come Play is based on writer/director Jacob Chase’s 2017 short film, Larry.
Come Play is a kinder, gentler horror/thriller targeted towards the pre-teen set. The story’s focus is on the effects of loneliness – not just Oliver’s but also the entity’s, creating an interesting twist – a monster that while really scary looking, is actually just looking for a friend. As a result, the film connects more on an complex, emotional level than most horror flicks.
Gillian Jacobs (Community, Walk of Shame) plays the well-meaning mom who’s frazzled from doing all the heavy parental lifting, and frustrated that her son (Marriage Story‘s Azhy Robertson) won’t emotionally connect with her. Their fractious dynamic is central to the story that borrows heavily from such predecessors as Poltergeist and The Babadook. Chase’s decision to focus more on building suspense and utilize practical rather than CGI visual effects results in a more impactful film. Another plus – Come Play finishes on a strong note, something too many horror films these days fail to do.
• Writer/director Jacob Chase’s wife works with kids on the autism spectrum, which gave him unique insight in developing the film’s character, Oliver. Above is his short film, Larry, which was the inspiration for Come Play.
• Gillian Jacobs starred as Britta Perry in the NBC comedy TV series Community, from 2009 to 2015.
• Azhy Robertson says he is currently working on a sci-fi series about a family affected by an oncoming apocalypse.