Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Misunderstood Monster

Come Play (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Jurassic DinosaursA young boy Oliver (Azhy Robertson) sleeps in the midst of dinosaur designs in his room. He follows the contorted form of “Sponge­Bob Square­Pants” on his tablet late at night. After lights-out his mobile device buzzes and offers him a children's e-book, an online story called “Mis­under­stood Monsters” featuring Larry who “just wants a friend.” brontosaurus Larry is tall and thin to the extreme, imprinting him­self on the kid's imagination who surrounded him­self with monstrous lizards and deformed cartoons. When the lights flicker in his room, he hides under the covers and screams for his mom, Sarah (Gillian Jacobs). Oliver is autistic resulting in stressed-out parents.

Methodology is importantIn school the teacher challenges his students with multiplying three numbers: 2 x 4 x 2. Oliver comes up with the answer 88 having added as well as multiplied. Again, it is a big number suggesting Oliver has a big imagination. His school­mates thinking he's stupid lure him to an isolated field where they toss his tablet into the weeds. His dad, Marty (John Gallagher Jr.,) being unable to afford a replacement right away retrieves one from work when he notices it sitting there in the Lost and Found box as he is fixing a flickering light bulb. The same story appears on this screen once it is recharged leading the audience to suspect Larry has more substance than simply a fanciful figment from a story­book. handshake The e-story reveals that Larry looks back out at us through the screen, but he wants this window to turn into a door. Once through the door if he can get his new “friend” to grasp his hand, he will take him away permanently. These parents have bigger problems than an autistic child who engages in excessive screen time.


“Come Play” capitalizes on an archetype from the Bible to wind the tension tight. Oliver on his bed with the animal designs on the covers, evokes Noah safe in the ark with his stable. The sponge from Sponge­Bob is for wiping up all the water that got spilled. Both Noah and Oliver found further security under the covers. Let's refresh in our minds the ancient story.

Noah and his three sons (with all their wives) were all that survived the world­wide flood, Gen. 9:18-19. There follows a critical incident where, Gen. 9:20-22, Noah got drunk on wine and was exposed in all his glory to his youngest son Ham who brazenly viewed him uncovered in his tent. Noah's other two sons, Shem and Japheth, covered him up, Gen. 9:23. Ham had violated him, which Noah sniffed out upon awakening, Gen. 9:24. Noah's curse puts Ham's youngest son Canaan in a position of servitude, Gen. 9:25. Noah's other two sons Shem, Gen. 9:26, and Japheth, Gen. 9:27, were blessed by Noah. The blessing of Shem was shared by Japheth who was to dwell in the tents of Shem, integration of two of the brothers as it were.

From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family by a figure of speech called a synecdoche where a part stands for the whole. (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

Bodie Hodge (134) further quotes “Bible Questions and Answers,” from The Golden Age (July 24, 1929): p. 702.

Question: Is there anything in the Bible that reveals the origin of the Negro?

Answer: It is generally believed that the curse which Noah pronounced upon Canaan was the origin of the Black race. Certain it is that when Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren,” he pictured the future of the Colored race.

In this movie the Aide (Alana-Ashley Marques) to the White autistic kid was a Negress.

woman teacherThe teacher mentioned that the class knew how to multiply two numbers; now they were going to learn three. In the back of the class­room were posted two portraits of presidents, Lincoln's face Abraham Lincoln and George
Washington portrait George Washington. Now they were going to tackle a third person, Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) not a president but known for taking umbrage at his people being “slaves, forever.” This implied civics lesson in the back corresponds to the main math lesson in the front.

3 at desksOliver came up with the answer: 2 x 4 x 2 = 88. It's new math but old civics. Substitute MLK for the three numbers they're trying to multiply: M x L x K = ?. M is the Roman numeral for 1000. L is the Roman numeral for 50. K is kilo, a mathematical abbreviation for 1000. Substituting numbers for these letters, we get 1000 x 50 x 1000 = ?. Okay, that doesn't seem to help, but remember X is the Roman numeral for 10. So substituting for one of the x'es we get, 1000 x 50 10 1000 = ?. Multiplying the pairs in turn, (1000 x 50) (10 1000) gives us, 50,000 10,000 = ?. Roman numerals add to each other when in sequence (e.g. VI is six.) Adding them yields 60,000 similar to the way 2 x 4 x 2 = 88. Six is the number of man—having been created on the sixth day—so 60,000 would be a tall, skinny man having no meat on his bones as would by contrast, say, 666. But that's Larry: extremely tall and thin.

boy at windowLarry has the same initial as does MLK's middle name. L is looking for a friend. One's middle name although officially there tends to get ignored in favor of the first and last. MLK preached that the long night of the Negro's discontent would not end until he was granted equality. Now that it's been granted they are still discontented wanting affirmative action, reparations, and defunded police. Although MLK has been kept as an icon, his message is now off point. In the movie children's birthday party friendships take the form of celebrations like the sleep-over. In civics it's the federally recognized birthday. Ronald Reagan combined Washington's birthday with Lincoln's to give us Presidents Day. That doesn't include MLK whose birthday is officially celebrated the third Monday of January. That's the same day, in some Southern states, when Robert E. Lee's birthday is officially celebrated. For that matter the death of Vladimir Lenin is commemorated—or it used to be—in Russia on Jan. 21. These three don't have that much in common and their days are ignored. “Come Play” seems to be a cautionary tale not to let our coming generation get involved with so-called friends from another world than ours derived from Noah. And there are dangers inherent in digital assistant excessive screen time.

Production Values

“Come Play” (2020) was written and directed by Jacob Chase. It's an expanded version of his 2017 5-minute short film, “Larry.” It stars Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, and John Gallagher Jr. Robertson came through with flying colors portraying an autistic child trying to make the best of things. The other child actors did well in their limited parts, and the whole, small cast pulled it off nicely.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for terror, frightening images and some language. It's heavy on jump scares. The lighting effects are phenomenal.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

It took me a while to decide whether to feel sorry for the autistic kid, sympathetic towards his parents, curious about the children's story, angry at the bullies, frustrated with the failing lights, or frightened of the bogeyman. In the end Larry won the day as a friend from another world I could do without. How­ever, it left me with a feeling this world of ours is frightening in its own right if one allows his life to get out of kilter. This is one well-crafted horror flick that doesn't let up. Be prepared to be frightened.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Absolutely amazing special effects. Video Occasion: Good Halloween movie. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

The Book of Jasher. Translated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, Web.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.