If a film is to be remade, it should at least have a unique, new, modern spin that qualifies the decision to revisit the property. Making a nearly scene-by-scene reenactment doesn’t make any sense, especially when it didn’t work the first time around. Such the case with Come Out and Play, the remake of the Spanish 1976 Who Can Kill A Child?. The original is deeply flawed, and could have used a boost by a visionary filmmaker; unfortunately it got “Makinov.”
The Mexican remake, with English speaking leads, follows a couple (visiting Brazil during Carnival) that rent a boat and head to a serene tropical island for an intimate getaway. Upon arriving, they learn the island is near-deserted, sans a scatter of malevolent looking children. They slowly realize they’re in the middle of some bizarre event… the kids up and killed everyone on the island, and nobody stopped them because, who could kill a child? The duo is trapped and in the middle of the chaos, which plays out like a zombie flick.
Director Makinov basically follows the original step for step, sans a small twist involving the pregnant protagonist and her baby. The idea is really, really cool, and most of the film is incredibly unnerving, but Makinov does nothing to progress the story in a new/better director. If anything, it feels a little trite. Even the “shocker” of an ending is dull, having been done so many times before.
The movie’s strengths come in its intense graphic content (watching dozens of kids stab an old man to death, and then drop a rock on his head, is pretty intense) and astounding production locations. The audience will literally feel like they’re on the beaches, something that adds a massive amount of believability to the film. There are strong performances by the lead couple, not to mention the rash of evil children (anyone who works in film can tell you how hard it is to work with, and get quality work out of them).
While the remake doesn’t progress the story in any positive direction, it’s still pretty good and something easily recommend. If anything, Come Out and Play is generic to the core, a cut and paste horror thriller that still manages to deliver on both production value and intensity. And while most of the remake is a slow burn, the finale will have most viewers on the edge of their seat in absolute shock. Could you kill a child?