“Come Play” is a horror film from writer/director Jacob Chase that has plenty of elements working for it.
The premise is intriguing enough, with Chase adding some visual flair to amp up the tension. Unfortunately, a creative first half devolves into a stale and repetitive second half that will likely leave audiences disappointed with “Come Play.”
The film stars Azhy Robertson as Oliver – a lonely autistic boy whose only means of verbally communicating is through his electronic devices. One day, Oliver’s tablet pops up a story about a mysterious creature named Larry that wants to be friends.
The more Oliver reads the story, the more weird things start unfolding around him. Larry is trying to break into this world and take Oliver back to his world.
As Larry’s quest intensifies, Oliver’s parents, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) and Marty (John Gallagher Jr.), discover their child is in danger – and are willing to do whatever it takes to protect Oliver and send the monster back to its world.
“Come Play” is based on a short by Chase, which explains why the film feels a bit stretched.
In the early moments of the film, Chase does a good job of drawing in the audience and creates a few visual set pieces that deliver some effective jump scares.
But once the initial visual tricks are played, it becomes clear that Chase doesn’t really have much left to work with. The characters start behaving in ways that only happen in horror films, and the jump scares lose their edge when they keep happening over and over in the second half of the film.
It appears at one point that maybe Chase is trying to use the material to say something about society’s dependency on electronics, but that is a fleeting moment that succumbs to the usual tropes from the genre.
The final third of the film feels painstakingly long, with “Come Play” nearly grinding to a halt while Chase figures out how to get off stage. His choice is odd and kind of cheesy, completely undermining the tone of the rest of the film.
Chase certainly shows promise as a filmmaker and screenwriter, but “Come Play” is a bit of a stumble – unable to find its footing in the final act.