Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Children as Wolves in Makinov's Come Out and Play: A Movie Review

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*there are some spoilers below.

Director: Makinov.

Writers: Makinov and Juan José Plans.

Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Vinessa Shaw.

Come Out and Play is a recent entry in the killer kid horror category. And, the film's background is just as interesting as the film itself. Come Out and Play was developed by first time director Makinov, who only appears in public with a red, hood-like mask. Makinov used this mask throughout the film's shooting schedule. And, the film's directing techniques are almost as creative as the director himself. Shot with a diverse shooting style, Come Out and Play is a curious film that is entertaining throughout.

Makinov is truly a unique filmmaker. This director has created a manifesto, in which he explains his view of life and critiques the lifestyle choices of others. Apparently, Makinov does not like modernism and he has Ludite leanings. Also, this filmmaker is more at home in the forests where anyone can: "get a good fuck." This reviewer is unsure of who or what Makinov is fucking, but few directors have stated their views so passionately on film, in some time. Fans of the bizarre can view Makinov's speech below.

The kids in pack mode (background).

Makinov's first film choice is a remake of a 1976 film. The original film, titled Who Can Kill a Child?, was developed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador. This earlier Spanish language film only had a small release and it did not find a wide market. Makinov's film is basically a scene by scene reproduction of Serrador's earlier work. Both films are based on Juan José Plans' novel El juego de los Niños. And, Makinov's choice of films to shoot is not as flamboyant as the director's personality.

Come Out and Play's story is a standard holiday tale gone wrong scenario. In the film, Beth (Vinessa Shaw) and Francisco (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) travel to an isolated island off the coast of Mexico. This couple finds the town of Punta Hueca deserted. The first act involves the protagonists searching through a ghost town. However, events pick up when Francisco sees a fisherman clobbered to death by a group of young children. Francisco has his hands full protecting his wife from a menacing pack of feral kids. It is only when Francisco decides to fight back that the film's tempo really begins to boil.

The killer children in this film are the most menacing aspect from Come Out and Play. They appear friendly at first, or sometimes standoffish. The kids become more threatening in the film's second act. Here, the children loom about. Their presence amplifies the film's tension, with murders occurring occasionally. Viewers might see the antagonists as laughable in some scenes, but they are at their bloody best when in pack mode. These villains truly create some excellent terror, late in the picture.

Come Out and Play is a mostly enjoyable time. The film's pace is built to momentum slowly. Yet, the payoff is worth the wait. This title is more of a thriller, than a horror feature and cinephiles are best served seeing the film with as little information as possible. The film's pretense is best left unknown, with the finale offering a few surprises for those unfamiliar with the original title. Makinov also uses some creative shooting techniques to capture the film's story brilliantly.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (beautiful cinematography, strange shooting style which keeps characters unseen initially, diverse shooting style: aerial shots, close-ups, shaky camera).

Makinov's manifesto can be viewed here:

Makinov on Youtube

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