Tales of technology turned bad is an inescapable part of the zeitgeist in horror cinema, and whilst many “terror tech” clichés haven’t done the sub-genre many favours, every once in a while filmmakers do come up with refreshingly novel ways of implementing state-of-the-art gadgets to create terrifying new visions. That’s exactly what writer/director Jacob Chase has pulled off with his debut feature, Come Play – a film that dissects society’s relationship with “monsters of modernity” without the use of technology ever feeling shoehorned into the plot.
Based on Chase’s original 2017 short film Larry, Come Play is a terrifying tale of loneliness, love and friendship. Inspired by the director’s fascination with complicated antagonists and the connection between modern technology and loneliness, the film focuses on Oliver, a non-verbal eight-year-old on the autism spectrum who feels different from everyone else. Desperate for a friend, he seeks solace and refuge in his ever-present cell phone and tablet that he depends on to be able to communicate with the world. But when a mysterious creature going by the name of Larry starts using Oliver’s devices against him to break into our world, Oliver’s parents must fight to save their son from the monster beyond the screen.
To celebrate the film’s release this Friday, June 30th, SCREAM sat down with the stars of Come Play, Gillian Jacobs (Bad Milo!, “Community”) and John Gallagher Jr (Underwater, 10 Cloverfield Lane) who agreed that technology, when used right, can serve as the contemporary surrogate for the haunted house and they also alluded to the idea that Larry might not be the only monster they are doing battle with in the film:
Words: Howard Gorman