It's rare that a movie blows me away and sticks with me for hours after I've finished watching it, but that's exactly what Come Play did to me. Right from the beginning, the eerie vibe starts and it doesn't let up.
I have a tendency to get deeply involved with movies of this nature, outcast child struggling through a broken home and difficulty in school. Yes, it's because I can completely identify, so it makes these films more effective and personal. In this case, Oliver is an autistic child who uses smart phones and iPads to communicate.But when an e-book titled Misunderstood Monsters appears out of nowhere, the story begins to unfold.
Misunderstood Monsters is about Larry, a lonely creature just looking for a friend to protect. But it's not as simple as that, Larry is not the kind of friend you want. He taunts, torments and injures as he tries to gain enough strength to "take" his chosen new friend, in this case Oliver.
The amount of tension is constant because Larry is persistent, and the moments of peace are very brief. Eventually, mom and dad put their differences aside as each becomes aware of Larry and his intentions, and their attempts to stop Larry become a lot more challenging than just destroying the devices of communication in the immediate vicinity.
The basic story of the parents is that mom is the primary caregiver who struggles to help her child gain the ability of speech and have some sort of social interactions with others. Dad is the fun one who distances himself from the serious aspects of caring for a child with limitations, and prefers to be the lighthearted and fun parent, despite the inequality in responsibilities. Further interpersonal plots twists are one of Oliver's school bullies was once his best friend but that ended in a misguided effort by mom to protect her son from scrutiny. Larry plays on all of this in an effort to convince Oliver to take his hand and be his 'friend'.
And like the best movies of this nature, the ending is very bittersweet. You realize the steps mom is willing to go to protect her son, to the point that Oliver actually understands. It's a real heart tugging finale and it has choked me up both times (so far) that I've watched the movie, and that's not an easy thing to do.
This is a classic film in that you understand the director likely had aspects of Oliver's upbringing in his own childhood, and that's what gives it a very penetrating authentic feel. It's smart and scary, sweet and sad, and ultimately very effective for those who can connect with the subject matter rather than just expecting a silly knife wielding psycho looking for his next teenage victim to off.
An extra mention to the child actor playing the lead role. He did an outstanding job! Right away, your heart goes out to him. He portrays a shy timidness with the innocence of a child that makes you just want to protect and comfort him. His looks and mannerisms playing such a challenging role at his age are to be commended because nothing about it seemed silly or fake. He kind of reminded me of Danny from The Shining but even more engaging.
There are a number of messages in the movie, one of which is how technology has crippled human interaction and responsibility. All you need to do is look at how many millennial females cannot seem to drive a car without a phone in their hand and you completely understand.
Come Play became an instant classic for me. I was never bored and was on the edge of my seat the majority of the movie. The ending that left me sitting there in the dark feeling a bit emotional helped solidify it as a new favorite. Very well done and highly recommended.