While vacationing in Mexico, Francis (Damages‘ Edon Moss-Bachrach) and his heavily pregnant wife Beth (Vegas‘ Vinessa Shaw) head to a tiny island for some peace and quiet, but find the place inhabited only by children. When they witness an old man being beaten to death, the couple are horrified to learn the children are systematically killing off all of the adults on the island – and they are next!
The film’s end titles claim this Mexico-set horror to be MAKINOV’s Come Out and Play, but it’s actually a shot-for-shot remake of Who Can Kill a Child?, a 1976 Spanish movie directed by Narciso Ibáñez Serrador – he also did the classic 1969 chiller The House that Screamed – and based on the novel El juego de los niños by Juan José Plans. Which makes this effort, and its one-named director, a bit of a con.
Saying that, Makinov’s lifeless debut feature did provide me and my fellow viewers the chance to bond and shout obscenities at the screen as we waited for the film’s unlikeable couple to finally click to the sinister events unfolding around them, while our hearts went out to the expressionless kids forced to play act in the film.
If you want to experience genuine fear and dread of being faced by innocent-looking children who want to tear your throat out, then you’d be better off tracking down Serrador’s nihilistic, taboo-trouncing original, which is available in the UK from Eureka! (check my full review of the 1976 cult film here).
Screens at Reel Cinemas (Borehamwood, Hull, Kidderminster, Quinton, Widnes, York) from Friday 3 May
Out on DVD and VoD in the UK on 6 May 2012 through Metrodome
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