Substitute zombies or mutant koala bears for the scary kids that run rampant on a Mexican island, and "Come Out and Play" wouldn't be any better or worse.

Substitute zombies or mutant koala bears for the scary kids that run rampant on a Mexican island, and “Come Out and Play” wouldn’t be any better or worse. This cheap and dreadful indie horror-thriller, helmed by Russian-American masked recluse Makinov, faithfully follows Narcisco Ibanez Serrador’s “Who Can Kill a Child?” (1976), albeit sans that film’s political allegory about the Civil War; “Children of the Corn” could also be a blueprint. Atmosphere and execution are trite and old-school compared with the pic’s J-horror tyke-terror counterparts, and its playground appears limited to genre fests and maybe online screenings.

Vacationing Americans Francis (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and pregnant wife Beth (Vinessa Shaw) rent a speedboat to an island getaway. No adults are in sight, and sullen tykes eye them ominously. Dull scenes of the couple in fear or flight alternate with flashes of blunt brutality. Jolty editing and camerawork, combined with off-the-beaten-track locations, manage to convey some suspense by creating the illusion of real time, but the tots’ overnight transformation is handled too sloppily for auds to care one way or another. Little is demanded of the thesps, and they still come up short.

Come Out and Play

Mexico

Production

A Canana Films production. (International sales: Cinetic Media, New York.) Produced, directed, written, edited by Makinov.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Makinov; music/music supervisor/production designer/set decorator/costume designer/sound, Makinov. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 14, 2012. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Vinessa Shaw. (Spanish, English dialogue)

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