To celebrate the release of Come Play, written and directed by Jacob Chase and starring Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr. and Azhy Robertson, we take a look back at how technology has changed the ways we communicate and are entertained and also how filmmakers have relished scaring us to death with the ghosts in the machines…
Come Play is out now on digital platforms
You can imagine, way back in the 20th century, when families got their first television sets many children may have been a bit spooked by the people “inside the box”. Steven Spielberg may have remembered being one of those kids when he came up with the idea for Poltergeist.
In the film, five-year old Carol-Anne inexplicably starts conversing with the family’s television set. She becomes fixated on the TV and a ghostly white hand emerges from the screen.
Bizarre events begin to occur around the house, growing more and more sinister, and we learn that Carol-Anne has been communicating with multiple ghosts from another dimension and they want her for one of their own…
RINGU (1998) & THE RING (2002)
Once the novelty of two, then three, and then four! Television channels had worn off the VCR came along to expand our viewing options. In Hideo Nakata’s The Ring (and its 2002 American remake), it was a VHS tape that held the potential to scare the bejeezus out of us (in addition to Sony executives – remember BetaMax!).
The tape contains nightmarish images and anyone who watches it promptly receives a phone call informing them they’ll be dead in exactly one week!
ONE MISSED CALL (2003 & 2008)
When it comes to keeping to a chronology of terrifying tech then, technically speaking, answering machines and voice mail systems had been around since the 80s but it probably wasn’t until the 2000s that we all had a mobile phone on our person and that mortifying call from Mum could go to straight to voicemail.
In the Japanese One Missed Call (plus another US remake in 2008), a young student receives a strange voice message on her phone but it’s dated two days in the future and she can hear herself screaming. Did anyone else ignore their messages after seeing this one…
STAY ALIVE (2006)
Much has been said about the detrimental effects of video game addiction but in Stay Alive, those effects are fatal. When a group of friends are playing a horror-themed video game they are all killed in the exact same way as their characters in the game. With all the witnesses to this horrific event dead, the cursed game is passed and instead of points piling up it’s dead bodies
COME PLAY (2020)
We’ve been told that lying in bed, scrolling through social media on our phones or browsing the internet will keep us awake at night but in Come Play the consequences are absolutely horrifying. Oliver, played by Azhy Robertson, is autistic and in his non-verbal and lonely world, technology plays a vital and positive role allowing him to communicate with his parents and school friends. That
is until he reads a story on his tablet – the tale of Larry, a lonely monster also desperate for friends. Unfortunately for Oliver and his family he has unwittingly unleashed the power of a villainous night-time monster that preys on innocent young children…