REVIEW: Come Play

If you’re looking for a new, original horror that stands out from the rest and invokes genuine fear, then look no further than Come Play

Gillian Jacobs and Azhy Robertson in Come Play / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

The synopsis

A young autistic boy named Oliver (Azhy Robertson) has trouble making friends; he cannot speak due to his autism and has a phone that helps him to convey his thoughts. Oliver doesn’t have any friends, which causes him to show an interest in Larry’s story…

When Oliver reads the story that found its way onto his new iPad, the lights flicker and, highlighted by a fun app on the device, it seems Larry isn’t too far away.

Oliver’s mother Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) invites three boys round for a sleepover to help Oliver makes friends, unaware that they don’t get along with her son. Byron (Winslow Fegley) finds Oliver’s iPad, and decides to read the story of lonely Larry.

Once the story is read out loud, Larry is able to edge closer and closer to the material world, no longer starring through the cameras of phones, laptops and iPads.

Larry just wants a friend… will you be his friend?

The story of Larry... / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

The story of Larry… / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

So, what did I think?

As someone who enjoys horror movies and watches them frequently, I can honestly say I have never seen a movie like this one.

The trailer for Come Play was an eerie, harrowing experience that made me all the more excited to watch it; and the film itself did not disappoint. I was genuinely rattled (in the best of ways) from beginning to end, as I didn’t have to wait long for the unsettling events to begin.

From the start, there was a noticeable lack of music, whether played by a character or for the benefit of the movie. This was a very, very smart choice as it grounded the film and made the events within seem more realistic and believable.

No music also correlated with Oliver, as a child who cannot or does not speak and spends much of his time being silent, I felt almost transported into his world of quiet and it definitely unnerved me.

Oliver and his classmates / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Oliver and his classmates / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Oliver seems like a sweet boy, and when bullies (the three boys who come for a sleepover later in the film) throw away his phone, I knew that this would cause problems for him later on…

Come Play was well-paced, as at first we see drawings of Larry, then, through camera lenses, we see his pale, arched back; we see more and more of him as the film progresses and unlike many movies with a monster, we witness Larry in his entirety.

Larry is a tall, pale, skeletal figure who has a domineering and genuinely terrifying presence. His design is perfect; he is one of the creepiest and most unnerving creatures I have seen in a horror movie.

When Larry moves, floorboards creak and the whole house seems to wake up as the monster makes his way through the rooms of the house, checking to see if Oliver, the boy he has chosen to be his friend, is there.

Larry is here... / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Larry is here… / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Larry’s movements are perfect; he swings his too-long arms by his side, and the way his head jerks to one side and makes a cracking noise, almost like his bones cannot cope with such a quick movement, is haunting. His face is the stuff of nightmares, and every step he takes sounds like when you step on glass, as his skeleton sounds as though it breaks with every movement.

The movie has a brilliant way of explaining how Larry works, and how he plans on travelling from his realm to Oliver’s. Through the use of electricity, Larry only needs his story to be read in full for him to crawl into reality.

Oliver explains how Larry's story works / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Oliver explains how Larry’s story works / Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Come Play really pulled out all the stops to make a truly harrowing experience as, when the lights went out, I knew that Larry was closer than I’d like him to be, and after seeing only snippets of him, witnessing Larry’s gigantic, bony frame definitely freaked me out.

Everything from the simple set design, to the acting by all the cast, the lack of any sort of music (for the most part), and of course, Larry himself, was perfectly executed to create a grounded, realistic horror that made my eyes go wide and my mouth drop.

I enjoyed being scared by this film, as so much effort went into every aspect of it, and again, Larry is something new and downright horrifying.

The ending wasn’t what I expected (but was in no way bad), nor was Oliver’s relationship with Byron and also his father, and the silence of the whole experience made me constantly on edge and wondering where Larry would be next…

Come Play is simply one of the best horror movies I have ever seen. It had a new and original feel to it, and the eerie, tense atmosphere never dropped, even in the middle of the day when it was bright; the tension was perfect from minute one to the very end. This film is not to be missed.

Come Play is on digital release from today (Septemebr 13th, 2021): watch the trailer below.

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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