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Come Out and Play (Blu-ray / DVD)



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Come Out and Play (Blu-ray / DVD)Starring Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, Daniel Giménez Cacho, El pueblo de los malditos

Directed by Makinov

Distributed by Flatiron Film Company

Let’s talk a bit about the possessory credit. The PC, as we’ll refer to it, concerns a film’s director taking an additional bow for his work by slapping his name underneath the phrase “A Film by”. That’s in addition to the inevitable “Directed by” credit. So, essentially, a filmmaker is not only credited for his actual contribution to the film, but for the film’s entire existence. That always grated with this reviewer, even with directors whose work I adore. Shouldn’t “a film by” precede, say, a list of the film’s entire cast and crew, paying due credit to all the hardworking folks who helped usher the film into being?

With some certainty I could say that the director of the new film Come Out and Play would disagree with me. Said director, known only as “Makinov” (a one-word name like Madonna, if Madonna’s name sounded like a Russian cocktail), has not only a credit at the film’s opening (“Makinov’s Come Out and Play”), he also has the jaw-droppingly ostentatious “MADE BY MAKINOV” credit which pops up in massive letters over the film’s final image. At first those big, blocky letters caused this reviewer to roll his eyes. But then – then I realized, it was actually a fairly noble thing Mr. Makinov has done, taking sole credit for the making of Come Out and Play. Because yikes, folks, is this film a turkey.

Based upon the Spanish-language novel El Juego De Los Niños (itself made back in the 70s as the well regarded Quién Puede Matar a un Niño?, aka Who Can Kill a Child?), Come Out and Play introduces us to Francis and Beth, a young couple vacationing in Mexico while expecting the arrival of their child (Beth is quite pregnant as the film begins). After making a deal to secure a tiny boat for the two of them, Francis pilots his wife to Punta Hueca, an idyllic and rather isolated little island where the two can relax for a week or so.

Upon their arrival, the two are struck by the lack of people on display in Punta Hueca. The streets are bare, the whole of the island silent, with not a human in sight. Until, that is, they manage to glimpse a child. Then, several children. And then, finally, they run across an honest-to-goodness adult and witness the island’s children commit a truly heinous act, just before they turn their attention to Francis and Beth.

So far, so creepy. In fact, the film’s first half is quite effective. It’s beautifully shot, the actors are quite good, and the setup is undeniably unsettling. The film even manages to remain intense just after the cat-and-mouse begins between our leads and film’s demented, murderous brats. Unfortunately, as the film wears on, our characters begin making quite awful decisions that are more in service to the plot than any sort of logic or attempt at realistic human behavior. The characters stay put when they should run, separate when they should stay together, attempt to save people at the worst opportunities while later abandoning someone they might have saved. And when the two potentially find salvation at the far edge of the island, they squander it by sitting still, waiting on their pursuers to catch up with them and neglecting to inform a clueless fellow grown-up as to the current situation on the island. It only gets worse as the film eventually eschews its tension in favor of wallowing in depravity, poorly staged violence, and its utterly pessimistic ending. Though I’ve never seen Who Can Kill a Child?, I can only hope that its decent reputation means that it’s a far better take on the material than this updated retelling.

Flatiron Films has given Come Out and Play a so-so release to disc (horrid cover art aside). The image is sharp and quite striking at times, with gorgeous colors. The DTS-HD audio track also does a good job of reproducing the film’s surprisingly effective sound design. The special features section includes a making-of featurette (kind of, as it’s only six minutes of behind-the-scenes footage featuring the children and stunt coordinator prepping some of the kid-centric action bits), brief interviews with Moss-Bachrach and Shaw, and a set of deleted scenes (three minutes of footage that doesn’t actually appear to be new). All in all, a fairly underwhelming disc for a fairly underwhelming film.

Ultimately, while Come Out and Play’s first half does an admirable job of presenting its creepy scenario and ratcheting up the tension effectively, the film inevitably fails to engage with its silly and mean-spirited final half. Unless you’re a fan of the original and are curious about this take on the material, steer clear of this flick. As far as Makinov goes – I wish him well. He shot a nice picture, pulled decent performances from his cast, and managed to create some truly intense moments. I’ll remain guardedly optimistic about his next feature film, whatever that may be.

And no matter how much credit he takes for it.

Special Features

  • Behind-the-Scenes Making-of Featurette
  • Cast Interviews
  • Deleted Scenes


    2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

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    Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?



    Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

    Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas

    While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

    A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

    When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

    Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

    Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

    While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

    • Inside (Remake)


    Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

    User Rating 1.67 (3 votes)
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    What If Tina Fey Wrote Jennifer’s Body? My Friend’s Exorcism Book Review



    “Rummaging in one of his duffel bags, [the exorcist] pulled out and athletic cup and slid it down the front of his pants. ‘First place they go for,’ he explained. He then adjusted himself and picked up a well-worn Bible. ‘Let’s do the Lord’s work.'”

    It was about a year ago now (it seems) that I first saw the cover of “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.” If you haven’t seen it for yourself in all of its glory, make sure to click the image over to the right for a more in-depth look. Awesome, right? Got to love all the VHS details such as the “Horror” and “Be Kind Rewind” stickers. Classic. Utter classic.

    Now I’m fully aware that one should not judge a book by its cover. Literally. But still the moment I saw this work of delicious art crop up in the inbox I had to read the book asap. Well, it turns out asap was about a year later, but all the same, I’ve now had a peek at the inside of the book as well as the outside. Does the content inside match the content outside?

    Let’s find out…

    For those who might not know, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” (henceforth referred to as MBFE) tells the tale of two best friends named Abby and Grethen. One night the two, and a few of there other friends, drop a bit of acid for the first time. While the drug never kicks in (no worries, there’s no lame twist-ending to be had here) poor Gretchen still wanders off into the woods and gets possessed like a motherf*cker in some creepy abandoned building. From there, things go from bad to worse until an unlikely exorcist is called in and things go off the wicked walls in all the best ways possible.

    Now, to review. First of all, let it be know that MBFE is more of a teen romance (between two friends) than a straight tale of terror. Think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body?” and that will give you a good hint at what the book holds in store for you. Not that that’s a bad thing. Still, you should be aware that the first 2/3 of the book is almost exclusively teenagers not getting along, bitch about losing touch, who is sleeping with who, and yada, yada, yada for pages on end. Dramarama for days. Mostly.

    That said, not only is the teen drama bearable (and truthfully quite sweet in spots), Hendrix keeps the horror in the spotlight just enough that I never lost faith the book was heading somewhere truly balls to the wall. And it does. Oh, boy does it. From the time the unholy shite hits the fan in the last third, to the time the last word is read, the book is filled with horror moments that will make even the most jaded fright-fiction fan gag, grimace, or stand up and cheer!

    You just have to get through all the angst first…

    But speaking of angst, let me get a bit of extremely personal business out of the way real quick. Can I trust you with this info? Sure I can. MBFE made is cry like a baby. Not kidding. There have been very few times in my life that I have literally burst out crying. I’ve had some sad shite happen in my days, and I have seen some sad-ass movies, but nothing has made me cry out of the f*cking blue like MBFE. I’m not going to go into details about the final 10 pages of the book, but it tore my poor horror-heart a new one. It was bad. Like snot and hyperventilating type shite. Again, not kidding. Thank the lord I wasn’t in public is all I can say. I would have arrested and thrown in the booby-hatch.

    MBFE goes along like a slightly horror-centric version of Mean Girls and Heathers for most of its page count. If you’re a straight horror fan, you’ll be at odds with whether you should bother finishing it or not. You will. Trust me. But listen to me now and know that once our heroine goes into the dark, dank bedroom of the school’s resident bitch to find out why she hasn’t been in school the past few days/weeks, the horror hits like holy hell. And it only gets worse (RE: better) from there.

    In the end, MBFE is a book ever horror fan should own – if only for the cover. I dug the hell out of the book (eventually) and I’m sure the majority of you guys will too. But even for those hard-hearts out there that just can’t stand to read about things like uncompromising love, and hellfire-forged friendship, you still need to own the book. You still owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool, just display in on your bookshelf in all it’s VHS glory. It will make you look cool.

    • My Best Friend's Exorcism - Book Review


    Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a killer mixture of Mean Girls, Heathers, and The Exorcist. Just think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body” and you’ll have a good indication of what lies in store for you within the amazing VHS-inspired cover art.

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    Knock Knock Review – This Throwback To The VHS Era Packs A Fun Punch



    Starring Kerry Tartack, Sisi Berry, Chuk Hell

    Directed by Toby Canto

    I remember the glory days of my youth back in the early to mid-80’s, renting every friggin horror flick on VHS and keeping the cassettes well past the return dates, eventually blacklisting my name from damn near all of the movie shops in my hometown. For the sole reason of wanting to hop back in the time-machine, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to check out a film that promises to ship you back to the days of all of that cheesy-neon attire and overblown hairdos.

    Director Toby Canto was generous enough to offer his latest film up onto the sacrificial stone, and it’s called Knock Knock – about a WAY past his prime pugilist named Sam (Tartack) who is unwillingly thrust into a throwdown with a bloodsucker who happens to reside in the same apartment – damn noisy neighbors! His only birthday wish is to spend his 60th go-round safely hold up in his domicile, away from pesky residents alike. Well, that plan goes to shit when his kooky neighbor (Berry) comes by and pitches the idea of throwing hands with the newest tenant: a real creature of the night (Lucas Ayoub).

    Sam initially nixes the idea wholeheartedly, but when more of his quirky neighbors show up to his place to substantiate the vampiric-claims, Sam finds himself lacing up the leather for one more round…or two, depending on if he can still take a beating. Filled with more than a handful of goofy instances, this near-hour presentation won’t blow the doors off of the horror/com vehicle, but should more than suffice in the short-term until the next spooky-laugher comes slithering out of its hole.

    • Film


    Historians alike, this movie’s for those who want a reminder of how loopy those VHS days were, and the best part is you don’t have to rewind a freakin’ thing.

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
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