There is no shortage of horror films, but tragically far too many get remakes that lower the quality and taint the original. Yes, we have Michael Myers, Jason Voorhies, Freddie Krueger, and their ilk. But what we need and deserve are new monsters that we can reminisce joyously about with friends. Enter Larry who just wants a friend.
Come Play is a full-length feature film based on the short film “Larry” on Youtube. In the feature, an autistic boy named Oliver uses a phone to talk, since he is still unable to speak yet. It’s just him, his mom, and dad and he has zero friends. It’s thanks to this and the devices that Larry puts his story on Oliver’s phone—the tale of The Misunderstood Monster.
Terrifying New Monster Introduced Via Great Acting
This movie, if you look at it from a horror movie standpoint, is pretty scary. The noises Larry makes as he moves around is terrifying, somewhere between a raspy breath and a moan that may wind up in your nightmares. The appearance of the monster could’ve been done better; however, it is scary to a degree.
What draws you in is the child Oliver (Azhy Roberston). It’s chilling when children are the focal point, either as the ghost or monster or as the target of a ghost or monster. But with Oliver, it’s worse because he needs those devices to communicate and yet those devices are how Larry is making his way into our world. What kind of “friend” exploits a necessity? The acting from Azhy Robertson is wonderful, and you just want to grab and shield Oliver from all the bad things in the world.
The mother, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs), is frustrated and struggling to help her child while the father is more lackadaisical; swooping in to be the fun parent and leaving the day-to-day work of raising Oliver to her. This fosters a justifiable resentment as the father seems to think his only requirements are to work and play with Oliver. The trope of the uninvolved dad, who basically eyes the mother as though her tiredness manifests hallucinations will make you sigh.
The Threat That Devices Pose Here Is Mach 5
The way they introduced different devices and toys seamlessly into the story as part of Oliver and the family’s routine was well done. It didn’t feel inauthentically jammed in somewhere so that it could be used later in a scary scene. Rhymes and children’s stories that introduce new monsters, such as The Babadook or The Women in Black are the rhymes that keep you up at night. They’re easy to remember and there’s a power in the written word that makes us fearful that reading and saying the words will somehow call to the things crouched and lurking in the shadows.
The direction is also good. There were a few scenes where you expect something to happen and nothing does so your tension just rises endlessly. There were some jump scares, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but I would’ve loved less of those. Larry is plenty scary without it.
The ending was disappointing and predictable in the most annoying way, but the monster Larry is worthy of inclusion into beloved and terrifying horror characters. It would be great to see this monster brought to the silver screen again with a stronger story as the potential is there for more frights and chills.
More horror stories with new monster please. It’s essential!
Feature photo credit: Jasper Savage / Amblin Partners / Focus Features