Come Out and Play

discs rectify header

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Rectify Daniel Holden (Aden Young) is released from prison after serving 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of a teenage girl, but his return home opens up a world of troubled complications for everyone involved. The small, Southern community is divided on the issue of his innocence as the DNA evidence seems at odds with his own confession, and those doubts are just some of the issues he now faces. Character actor Ray McKinnon moves behind the camera here as the show’s creator, and the result is easily one of the year’s finest and most affecting shows. The story shares some thematic similarities to the brilliant Boy A, but it quickly finds its own rhythms and strengths thanks to a smart ensemble filled with heartbreaking performances and characters. It’s not needed, but the show also features some suspense and mystery surrounding Daniel’s possible guilt. It’s a short season at only six episodes, but happily Sundance Channel has ordered an additional ten for season two. [DVD extras: Featurettes]

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cr come out and play

Horror remakes get a bad rap, often sight unseen, and while the premature concern is usually proved correct it’s not entirely uncommon for a good one to slip on through. Okay fine, it’s pretty damn uncommon, but it does happen once in a while and you need look no further than… the upcoming Evil Dead reboot to see a solid example of a film that takes the (very) basic story from the original and then makes it into something new. But that’s the exception as usually the remakes capture plot details while forgetting to infuse their film with life of its own. Come Out and Play falls into this latter category as it remakes (the far better titled) Who Can Kill a Child? but replaces that film’s grimy charm with somewhat slick and by-the-numbers thrills.

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Makinov

Modern horror movies have made a ton of money working off the assumption that little kids are creepy. What would happen, then, if an entire town’s worth of the little shits suddenly became murderous and started attacking respectable, fully-grown folk in their own homes? This is the question that Come Out and Play, the new horror film from the mysterious and masked director known only as Makinov, asks and explores. The basic story here is that a young married couple played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Vinessa Shaw travel by boat to a beautiful and secluded island, only to find that something has gone terribly wrong with the small town on said island once they get there. The streets are deserted, other than a creepy little kid or two peeking around a corner every once in a while, and no one seems to be in charge of anything. Answers finally come when they see a pack of unruly adolescents hogtie a person and smash their head with a rock. Yikes.

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Kicking off this week with its Opening Night Gala for Hitchcock, Hollywood’s own AFI FEST effectively wraps up the year’s film festival-going season (a season that lasts approximately eleven months). Such calendar placement means that AFI FEST comes late enough in the year to serve as a last hurrah for titles that have been playing the festival circuit as far back as January (at Sundance) or as far away as France, Berlin, and Venice, and is the perfect opportunity for Southern California-based film geeks (or those willing to put some miles on their passport) to catch up on films they’ve been anticipating for months. Of course, of the 136 films playing at this year’s festival, we’ve managed to catch nearly a fifth of them at other fests, and we’re quite pleased to use this opportunity to remind you as such. Confused over what to see at the festival? Be confused no more! After the break, jog your memories of our always-extensive festival coverage with reviews for twenty-eight films set to play at this week’s AFI FEST that we’ve already seen (and, you know, reviewed). It’s like getting your festival coverage whole days early!

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Everybody loves a nice vacation, but it can be difficult for parents, especially new parents, to make time for a quiet getaway. Understanding this problem, soon-to-be parents Beth and Francis take one last trip together before their baby is born. While traveling abroad, they are made aware of a remote island said to be among the most beautiful in the world. Upon arrival, they note the mysterious absence of any citizenry above the age of twelve. As they search for an adult, any adult, the reason for the island’s occupation by unsupervised children becomes horrifically clear. Then there’s the screaming. And the the running. Let us immediately dispense with the obvious: kids are fucking terrifying; we all know that. There are few subsets of the horror genre as fundamentally unsettling as the killer kid movie. And these are not your average tykes; their inclination toward savagery rivals the very worst of their grownup counterparts. Horror films, for better or worse, and in defiance of detractors who seek to broad-stroke marginalize it, are often the most direct cinematic confrontation of our collective fears. Many titles have artfully and eloquently explored the fear of motherhood/parenthood — Rosemary’s Baby, Aliens (though admittedly more sci-fi), and 1976′s Who Can Kill a Child? Come Out and Play is in fact a remake of Who Can Kill a Child, and the fact that it hasn’t lost a step in this over-35-years-later translation speaks to the universality of that fear.

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Makinov

There are a lot of professions out there that might require a person to wear a mask: welder, murderer, Mexican professional wrestler. But one job that we don’t often think of as being held by hooded weirdos is film director. A mysterious figure from Belarus known only as Makinov is looking to change all of that, however. Despite the fact that Makinov appears in public only while wearing a creepy red bag over his head, and despite the fact that nobody really has any idea who he is, he was somehow able to make a horror movie called Come Out and Play and get it shown at TIFF. According to the festival’s synopsis, Come Out and Play is a movie about a young couple (Vinessa Shaw and Ebon Moss-Bachrach) looking to vacation on a beautiful island off the coast of Mexico. Unfortunately, things take a tragic turn when they discover that the island is populated solely by creepy children who want to murder them. Ain’t that always the easiest way to ruin a vacation?

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