"Reel Reviews: ‘Come Play’ plot relies on jump scares, so-so plot that falls flat" by: Jessica Shepard

   There’s been this lull in new movies and it’s been a struggle to find anything worth watching.
   However, I am eagerly awaiting the debut of “Godzilla v. Kong” this Wednesday, March 30.
   That being said, I decided to give a relatively new scary movie a chance – which sadly failed for me.
   If you’ve seen “The Babadook” (2014) or “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (2010) – then you’ve basically already seen this movie minus the smartphone caveat.
   Come Play is a horror film written and directed by Jacob Chase.
   The film is 96 minutes long and rated PG-13 for terror, frightening images, and some language.
   It stars Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr., Azhy Robertson, and Winslow Fegley.
   Oliver (Robertson) is a young non-verbal autistic boy who uses a smartphone to communicate with people.
   He attends school and is mostly taken care of by his mother, Sarah (Jacobs); his father Marty (Gallagher) spends most of his time at work trying to make ends meet.
   Sarah and Marty’s marriage has become difficult to the extent that Marty moves out.
   One night Oliver sees an app on his smartphone, “Misunderstood Monsters,” that ends up narrating the story of a monster named “Larry” who “just wants a friend.”
   Strange things begin happening to Oliver after he reads the story: lights go out by themselves, and a second face appears on his tablet while he plays with a picture app.
   Even though he only sees the face through his tablet and it doesn’t exist without it – initially.
   At school, Oliver is bullied by several of his classmates due to his autism.
   The bullies lure him into a field and chuck his phone away, then leave him there all alone.
   One night, based on a recommendation from Oliver’s therapist, Sarah organizes a sleepover so Oliver can become more social.
   The three boys who bullied him come over.
   Oliver hides the tablet as he is terrified of it, but one of the boys retrieves the tablet and reads the story.
   The lights go out and Larry appears, but he can still only be seen through the camera of the tablet.
   Larry attacks Byron, one of the boys, and they all blame Oliver for the incident.
   In the following days, Sarah begins to see the same strange things Oliver did.
   Confronting Larry through Oliver’s tablet, she learns that Larry wishes to “take” Oliver back to his home world.
   That night, Marty takes Oliver to his night-shift parking lot attendant job. Larry, revealing as a skeletal creature similar to a ghoul, begins to stalk them.
   When Marty witnesses Larry picking Oliver off from the ground, he finally believes Sarah and Oliver.
   They break the tablet and assume everything is over.
   Byron is traumatized from the incident at Oliver’s house but comes clean on what really happened, absolving Oliver of blame.
   But, that’s not the end of the story by any means.
   Things get exponentially worse for Oliver and his parents when Larry won’t stop.
   Overall, the film preys upon a parent’s worst nightmare of possibly losing their child and seems to rely entirely too much on jump scares.
   But, if you want a predictable horror flick, then go ahead and rent it or stream it.   

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