We all have a picture of life south of the border, Mexico has always evoked images of fiestas and siestas, one meaning to party hardy and the other to have an afternoon nap because of said partying. Things are slower and more relaxed in Me-he-co amigo. So is this little horror film from south of the border.
It features a film that moves so slowly it feels a bit like sleep walking. Sleep walking that leads you straight into a Village of the Damned cum Children of the Corn type nightmare. Oozing an atmosphere that feels like molasses trickling down a table leg, Come Out and Play is a film you can’t hurry along.
Written and directed by Makinov and based on a novel by Juan José Plans, Come Out and Play is the first feature film by Makinov and it combines the slowness of an old ballad with the discord of a one legged dancer.
Starring Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw, and Daniel Giménez Cacho; whom I’d just seen in Mel Gibson‘s Get the Gringo play the three main protagonists in the film, although Cacho isn’t in the film nearly long enough.
The film opens with Francis (Moss-Bachrach) wandering through Mexican streets during carnival asking for directions. He is trying to rent a boat so he and his heavily pregnant wife Beth (Shaw) can get to an island village that is famous for its carnivals. After securing the boat, Francis and Beth go down to the marina and head to the island.
When they arrive there are a group of boys lining the dock fishing. All of them seem to be friendly and help to tie up the boat and help the couple to bring their bags on the dock. Only one boy isn’t friendly and despite Francis’ best attempts, he doesn’t respond to his kindness. The couple then make their way into the village and it’s seemingly deserted.
When they find a cafe, it looks like everyone has left in a hurry, leaving half empty glasses on tables. There is a “ham” radio on the wall that keeps intermittently broadcasting a woman who sounds distressed. Since Beth is tired, Francis decides to go and find some people.
From the moment that Francis and his wife land on the island, the atmosphere of the film screams, “Wrong!” Everything seems off and eerie. The place is completely deserted and you know that if you were there, you’d run right straight back to the boat, get in, take off and never come back.
Of course the young couple cannot do that as there would then be no film. It is explained through their dialogue that these two are world travellers and that not too much spooks them. Too bad, it seems that travelling around the world dulls your “Spidey-senses.” They eventually find out what has happened on the island and it’s not good.
If you are expecting a “jump-scare” movie or one that throws horror at you in a violent manner, this is not the film for you. Come Out and Play builds an almost unbearable tension from the moment these two arrive at the island. Despite the slow pace of this film, I could not tear my eyes away from the snail like events on the screen. Although I did “second-guess” the ending, it still made sense and to be fair the director did signpost it very well.
I’d give this little gem a 4 out of 5 just for the slow moving creepy atmosphere of the village on the little island and for leading me twice to the wrong conclusion on how it would end; before I finally paid attention to the signs that the director so helpfully put in place.
- How I Spent My Summer Vacation/Get the Gringo (2012) VoD (mikesfilmtalk.com)
- “Over the Line”: US Agents Killing Innocent Mexicans Across the Border w/Impunity (humboldtdems.wordpress.com)
- Immigration debate takes shots at Mexico, ignores its burgeoning economy (nbclatino.com)
- Sunset World Committed to Sport Tourism in Mexican Caribbean (prweb.com)
- Mexican Drug Cartels Are Operating in All But 12 States (motherboard.vice.com)