Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Lola Versus) and the very pregnant Beth (the genetically blessed Vinessa Shaw, Side Effects) rent a boat to explore the nearby island of Punta Hueca (can’t-be-accidental translation: Hollow Point). Under a sweltering sun, they find a few kids at the dock and seemingly no else along the village’s roads or in its bars and hotels.
As Beth says, it looks like “they just up and left.” Turns out, there are a few adults — they’re just being hunted by the kids. It’s like Children of the Corn meets Carnival.
And while there’s not much to it, there appears to be a lot on its mind. On the surface level, you have the sheer terror of being trapped in a foreign locale, with cute kids salivating at the chance to shoot, stab and slaughter you. For subtext, one can read into it much about pushy Americans “invading” other countries abroad. The film doesn’t really need subtext, however; viewers will respond to the surface, provided they aren’t looking away from the violence.
The opening sequence is more than a bit disingenuous, with Francis stumbling the wrong way through a colorful nighttime parade as if under severe stress and desperation. Turns out he’s just looking for someone to rent him a boat, but it does illustrate that freshman writer/director/producer/editor/cinematographer Makinov — just Makinov, thanks — can build tension and dread, which he’ll do to greater degrees as Come Out and Play progresses.
Prepare to suspend your disbelief, however — not for the idea of kids turning into killers, but for Francis and Beth stupidly taking so long to realize Something’s Not Right. Moreover — and I speak from experience — about-to-pop pregnant women do not like to embark on adventures, much less travel at all.
Makinov’s handheld approach with the camera works well, whereas I often find it needless and distracting. It contributes to a feeling of claustrophobia, as does a Theremin-sounding score that, like the movie, is unsettling in its minimalism. —Rod Lott