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Can't Come Out to Play

1 h 44 min201515
A disturbing, skin-crawling horror thriller, featuring a stand-out performance from Michael Shannon (The Iceman) and directed by John McNaughton (Wild Things). A mentally unstable physician (Samantha Morton: Minority Report) keeps her dying son secluded from the outside world in a bid to preserve his life. Experience this chilling, psychological horror about a mother's obsessive love. A must see!
John McNaughton
Samantha MortonMichael ShannonNatasha Calis
None Available
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Supporting actors
Charlie TahanPeter FondaLeslie Lyles
Signature Entertainment
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3.6 out of 5 stars

179 global ratings

  1. 45% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 14% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 14% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

FleetyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 March 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good film, misleading cover.
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As others have mentioned, if you were to look at the poster/cover for this film, you'd think it was a cheesy horror film, which it isn't. It's a thriller and pretty good one at that. OK, it does have the air of a 'made for TV' film but it some great performances in it (Samantha Morton is great at channelling her inner Annie Wilkes). I'm not going to write the whole plot down (why oh why do people do that?) as it would clearly ruin it. It's worth a watch, it's quite dark in places but also manages to have a bit of heart.
12 people found this helpful
horrorbuffReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 March 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Dull, dull, dull
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I had read some of the reviews here and was looking forward to a decent thriller, if not an out and out horror movie. Twenty minutes in and I was screaming for something to happen, an hour in and I was begging to not have to watch Samantha Morton's god awful hysterical performance. I am not sure if they had drugged Michael Shannon before starting filming but he seemed to sleep walk through the entire film. And, finally, Peter Fonda was there - why? The two kids were decent enough but avoid, soooooooo boring.
12 people found this helpful
J NewmanReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 June 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
The film is also known as ‘The Harvest’
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Not a ‘skin crawling horror’ movie as described but certainly a tense psychological drama. Samantha Morton is no Kathy Bates and McNaughton doesn’t quite reach the macabre ‘normalcy’ of Misery but ‘Can’t Come Out to Play’ is on some levels reminiscent of Rob Reiner’s adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The script seems a little thin in places and the characters of Maryann’s Grandparents could have been fleshed out (and acted!) a little better however the young actors (Natasha Calis and Charlie Tahan) outshining all the adults, give excellent emotional wide eyed performances as two kids caught in the complexities of an adult phsycho-mess that is the relationship between Katherine (Morton) and Richard (Michael Shannon) and their response to having a sick child.

Despite the adults controlling the narrative, the film is really centred on Maryann and the means with which she steps into and then circumvents the controlling aspects of her friend, Andy’s, situation with first of all, her needs, then compassion for Andy and then with increasing desperation when the ‘responsible grown ups’ in the form of her Grandparents don't believe her version of events. This is a commendable film from McNaughton with an almost touching and clever treatment of clashing perspectives, those of the innocent children and those of grieving adults. It should not be dismissed as ‘just another’ mundane ‘horror’ film but should appeal to those who want more than John Carpenter soundtracks and bumps in the night to keep them engaged.
6 people found this helpful
AngieReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 November 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Mislabled - Thriller not Horror
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This isn't a horror. I agree totally with other reviews who say that it is definitely a thriller but the suspense doesn't build steady enough which ruins it. It's a shame because the plot is a fantastic and quite original idea. A lot of reviewers are comparing it to Misery. I can see the reason for that but actually it is quite different as you'll see from the twist at the end (which I did see coming but was still a fantastic idea). There was some fine acting from the youngsters Charlie Tahan and especially Natasha Calis as the friend who puts everything on the line to rescue him. Also another child actor who should really be congratulated, Nolan Lyons, who, although he doesn't have any lines, performs a very difficult part incredibly convincingly especially for one so young (I won't elaborate or it really would be a spoiler). It's really worth 3.5 stars but as I said a thriller should be full of suspense and this one wasn't. Having said that I did enjoy it and wold happily recommend it.
One person found this helpful
ugly bettyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 April 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent film with a great twist!
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This film was excellent with a chilling twist I'd never seen coming! It was both a disturbing and dark film, with fantastic performances from all. The plot was very well written with a superb cast, it makes a change to watch a film that is different from the 'norm'
The ending was very well thought through, many films i have watched in the past have left me wandering what the hell was that all about? but this one left no questions unanswered and all became clear.
Worth a watch in my opinion.
12 people found this helpful
Wendy Y.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 December 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is clearly NOT for the less CONTEMPLATIVE VIEWER, as evidenced by the baffling reviews perceiving it as slow. Clearly we all have different ideas of excellence, but writing as someone not knowing anything about this movie, prior to viewing, I have to agree it’s NOT A HORROR movie, but IT IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, which from beginning to end traces a brilliantly well executed and acted entry into the world of a crazed mother/physician played so well by Morton. There is little if anything to like about this woman who is married to an amiable, biddable but overwhelmed/ henpecked nurse who has given up his job to be a stay at home dad for their sick son Andy. The father is so sympathetically played by Michael Shannon, but right from the beginning a never ending trail of breadcrumbs are laid, raising much curiosity, not least for a young girl Maryanne who has just moved to the area and looking for a friend. The fiend just happens to be Andy?

The whole hostility of Andys mother to Maryanne seems unfathomable....and there folks lies this truly ENGROSSING thriller, that left me feeling as though I had been treated to an Oscar worthy production, gripping from beginning to end. In truth the story is far from laboured, but very tense. The psychopathy of Andys mother is so awful it’s hard to watch at times but the performance is truly commendable.

I WAS ACTUALLY STUNNED by some of the poorer reviews, but if they were based on the premise this was a horror I can almost understand, as although there are truly horrible / horrendous aspects to the narrative, it is a THRILLER. IM NOT A FAN OF HORROR so this suited me fine, as there is no gratuitous stuff more generally linked with the horror genre, as scare tactics.

For me it was an hour and twenty minutes well spent and I will be definitely recommending it to friends and family and of course to all you kind souls bothering to read my take on this truly underrated movie. IMO 😂. 🌲🌲🎄🎄☠️☠️ ENJOY.
One person found this helpful
Richard MortonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 October 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Better than expected
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Ignore the marketing, this isn't a horror as such but more of a thriller and a pretty decent one to be fair. A solid plot and good performances carry things through and make this a worthwhile trip.

We start in family drama territory with Katherine and Richard (Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon) as parents looking after their wheelchair and house bound son, Andy (Charlie Tahan). Then Maryann, a young inquisitive girl, rocks up in the neighbourhood, befriends Andy and suddenly secrets are spilled as we tip into thriller territory.

Shannon is brooding and intense as usual with Morton supplying a rather more expressive turn - they have a strange good cop, bad cop dynamic going on as troubled parents whose troubles may run deeper than expected. The younger cast members hold their own as well in testing roles and this is the strength of the film.

Previously released as The Harvest overseas (a better title with a sneaky double meaning) it's a minor but entertaining work that ticks most of the right boxes and is worth a viewing.
19 people found this helpful
VicuñaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Slow and certainly not horror or much of a thriller
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I thought the blurb for this film sounded interesting. It started well, with a dramatic scene in the opening minutes and then switched gear to slow, dull and really quite boring. The story centres on a sick kid, home schooled and discovered by accident by another teenage child who befriends him. It becomes clear that sick kid is being medicated by his doctor mother. ..and it’s inappropriate medication. Dad stands by, complicit. But by bit the story unfolds but there’s no tension or drama and I wasn’t interested in any of the characters to hope it turned out well.

This is a story filled with undelivered potential. It’s too slow and even though the ending had a couple of surprises, overall that was too little too late. Don’t waste your time.
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