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Jacob Chase
Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr.
Writing Credits:
Jacob Chase

A monster named Larry manifests itself through smart phones and mobile devices.

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 1/26/2021

• None


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Come Play [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 21, 2021)

Back in 2017, Jacob Chase wrote and directed Larry, a short film about a monster who seeks friends. Apparently this caught the eye of producers in high places, as they shoveled enough money at Chase to create Come Play, a feature-length adaptation of Larry.

Young Oliver (Azhy Robertson) is a boy with autism. Due to his non-verbal status, he uses a smartphone to communicate with the world.

Oliver also uses it for entertainment, of course – especially Spongebob - and a new avenue opens up when suddenly his phone entices him to follow a story called Misunderstood Monsters. There he learns of a creature called “Larry” who desperately craves friendship.

This turns into a problem when it becomes clear Larry possesses abilities beyond the digital realm. As Larry attempts to cross over from the phone screen into real life, Larry and his parents Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) and Marty (John Gallagher Jr.) need to fight against this ominous intrusion.

Going into Play, I encountered three potential strikes against it. For one, movies with child protagonists tend to be spotty, so the film’s intense focus on a young character brought possible issues.

Secondly, the choice to make Oliver autistic opened a can of worms as well. Hollywood often treats those with different abilities as cartoons, so I feared Play would use Oliver’s challenges as an excuse to make him a one-dimensional oddity.

Finally, Play comes with a “PG-13” rating. I don’t view that as the kiss of death for horror, but studios tend to neuter scary stories to get that “teen friendly” rating, so I thought the movie might rub off its edges in the interest of mass appeal.

Happily, none of these potential issues hampered Play. While far from a great film, it nonetheless works well enough to become an above-average entry in the genre.

Much of the credit for the movie’s success stems from Robertson’s solid lead performance. He creates a surprisingly believable take on a child with autism, and he avoids the cheap theatrics most actors bring to those sorts of characters.

Honestly, Robertson delivers such a realistic turn that it becomes easy to think the filmmakers hired an actual child with autism. He grounds the film and gives it an unusual and compelling flavor.

As for the “PG-13” side, that doesn’t become an issue. Nothing about Play veers into graphic territory that might benefit from an “R” rating, so the movie generates appropriate scares and doesn’t seem dumbed down to get the “PG-13”.

I will say that Play peters out a bit as it goes. The film builds the story and characters well in the first half, but it tends to lose steam along the way.

That doesn’t turn into a fatal flaw, though, as the final 45 minutes or so remain effective. The movie just can’t keep up with the promise of the first half as well as I might like.

Still, given how crummy so much modern horror is, I’ll take the “pretty good” status of Come Play. While not a classic, it delivers a mostly effective horror flick.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus F

Come Play appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a mostly positive presentation.

Overall delineation looked fine, as the movie seemed well-defined. Some interiors could be a little soft, but not to a substantial degree. I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

To the surprise of no one, teal dominated the film’s palette, with amber thrown in as well. While predictable, the colors seemed well-executed.

Blacks showed good depth, and shadows were fine. Some low-light shots could be a smidgen thick, but not terribly so. All this led to a solid presentation.

Similar thoughts accompanied the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Come Play. This wasn’t exactly an action-packed mix, so one shouldn’t expect constant auditory shenanigans. When appropriate, the soundscape kicked to life well – mainly due to supernatural elements - but much of it focused on ambient information and music.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music offered good range and impact, and effects followed suit. These elements contributed fine dimensionality, with strong low-end at appropriate times. All of this led to a worthwhile soundtrack, if not a memorable one.

No extras appear on the disc – not even previews.

Though it loses some steam as it progresses, Come Play mostly delivers a creepy little horror flick. Aided by a strong performance from its young lead, the film gives us a dark, spooky tale. The Blu-ray comes with pretty positive picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. Expect a fairly compelling story here.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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