The horror genre has long found clever ways of diving deep into the human psyche, telling terrifying tales that tap into our deepest fears, with recent years seeing a resurgence of films that find compelling ways to tell fictional tales that touch upon real-world issues. The most recent example of such a film is Come Play, which might seem like a traditional horror film about a "Boogeyman" at first glance, only for the endeavor to dive deep into the world of depression, loneliness, bullying, and using technology for an artificial connection. Come Play writer/director Jacob Chase recently spoke with ComicBook.com about developing a film with complex themes, which is in select theaters now.
"The larger social questions that the movie raises about technology, I didn't set out to make a comment about technology, I wouldn't say," Chase shared of blending cultural fears with a horror narrative. "Of course, it's gonna be there, and there's so much to read into it inherently, because we all use our technology way too much. I'm addicted to it as much as anybody. But technology is not inherently evil, right? Technology can be great, as well. For me, when I was creating this world, it was less about making a comment on technology, and more, really, diving into the ideas of loneliness and connection, and what connection means. And technology is just one way that we communicate and connect with each other. But also this family is going through its own process of trying to connect and communicate in their own very specific ways. And [the monster] 'Larry' happens to be the horrifying creature that comes into their lives that really pushes them to work together for the first time in their lives."
In the film, newcomer Azhy Robertson stars as Oliver, a lonely young boy who feels different from everyone else. Desperate for a friend, he seeks solace and refuge in his ever-present cell phone and tablet. When a mysterious creature uses Oliver’s devices against him to break into our world, Oliver’s parents (Gillian Jacobs and John Gallagher Jr.) must fight to save their son from the monster beyond the screen.
The film's narrative confirms that Larry himself has a reliance upon technology to come "alive," which results in the question of his history and if this bizarre being predates the world of smartphones and tablets or if these devices created him.
"I don't wanna give away some of the stuff that comes later, but I will say that, in creating Larry, I was focused less on his origin story and more on his desires," the filmmaker detailed. "I think having a villain that is complex and that wants something that's relatable is important. Some of my favorite villains are ones that aren't just out for blood, but are out for something that we can understand, that you can almost take a step back and think, 'I understand where this guy's coming from.'"
Chase continued, "I grew up a pretty lonely kid, not a lot of friends. And so having a character in Larry, the monster who really wants a friend desperately and will do anything to get it, is, frankly, something I related to and so I try not to think of him as just a monster and more of just a fully rounded being who has wants and dreams."0comments
Come Play is currently playing in select theaters.
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