A real slow-burner that drip feeds the tension until all hell breaks loose in a fiery climax, Can’t Come Out To Play is a film that pretty much demands, and for that matter rewards, concentration.

A fast-paced gorefest this is most definitely not, but if you fancy a slice of powerful, thought-provoking drama with a very sinister edge, then this is the film for you.

The added bonus comes in the team that has put this film together, for not only do you get John McNaughton behind the camera (whose Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer remains a chilling piece of work), but you also get the supremely talented Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon in front of it.

Morton and Shannon play a husband-and-wife team, caring for their extremely sick son.

They cut their son off from the outside world, with doctor mum Katherine (Morton) overseeing a strict medical regimen, aided by nurse Richard (Shannon).

The house is very much Katherine’s domain, constantly putting Richard in his place and ensuring any flicker of true ‘care’ is quickly snuffed out.

The family’s cosy seclusion though is rocked by the arrival of a new neighbour, youngster Maryann (Natasha Calis), who seems intrigued by the wheelchair bound Andy (Charlie Tahan) and sets about befriending him.

That doesn’t sit too kindly with Katherine though, who wants her son to have nothing to do with the young girl.

But Maryann refuses to give up, and her persistence leads to some pretty creepy discoveries….

To explain much more would be to give far too much away, as one of the true successes of Can’t Come Out To Play (which I first saw under original title The Harvest) is the constant guessing game writer Stephen Lancellotti plays with the audience.

The film shifts and twists throughout, with revelation after revelation keeping the viewer on their toes.

The other strength is without doubt the acting – both Morton and Shannon produce excellent work, Morton especially memorable as a mother living on the edge of sanity.

But the real finds are Calis and Tahan, who anchor the film with a truly believable friendship and mine some humorous, as well as tense, scenes together.

McNaughton’s touch is assured, allowing the film and characters to develop before unfurling the twisted series of events in the final third.

A film that will certainly not please everyone, Can’t Come Out To Play is a mature, engaging, eerie offering that certainly gives you something to chew on.




DVD Review: Can't Come Out To Play
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About The Author

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Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle