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Film / Come Play

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This is Larry. He just wants a friend.
Come Play is a 2020 Horror Film directed by Jacob Chase and starring Ahzy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, and John Gallagher Jr. The film's plot expands on the director's 2017 short film "Larry."

Oliver, a mute boy on the autism spectrum, has no friends, but unfortunately a strange being decides to fill the deficit in the most alarming way possible. Using his ubiquitous tablet, Oliver catches sight of Larry, a pale, long-limbed creature that wants to make friends with him...whether he likes it or not. As Larry uses modern technology to intrude into their world in pursuit, Oliver's parents must fight to save their son.

This film includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The short "Larry" only ran five minutes and featured just four characters, most of whom weren't on screen for more than a few seconds. Come Play expands the story to film length, changes the monster's "friend" from a parking lot guard to a young boy, and brings in more characters.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: What Larry claims to be when asked where he came from. He is the personification of loneliness, particularly the loneliness of people who are more connected to technology than to those around them. This is why he can initially only be seen through screens, is dependent on electricity, and fixates on Oliver who can only communicate through a phone/tablet.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sarah goes with Larry to his world to be his friend so that Oliver won’t be taken. He ends up being friends with Byron and the other boys again, and Larry appears to let Sarah maintain some contact with Oliver.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Larry. In spades. When Sarah asks him if he knows what losing Oliver would do to her, he flatly responds that he doesn't care and that he just wants a friend.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The bullies toss Oliver's first phone into a grassy field, which is too dense for him to locate it. Oliver realizes late into the film that the field has no electronics and thus Larry can't get them there, but forgets about the phone, allowing Larry to keep coming.
  • Creepily Long Arms: The monster stalking the young protagonist has disproportionately long arms and legs (as well as inhumanly long fingers), enhancing his creepy appearance.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: While playing with a face-decorating app alone in his room, Oliver suddenly sees another face appear in the closet. Then Larry speaks through the tablet for the first time.
  • Don't Look At Me: Larry doesn't like to show his face clearly.
  • Electromagnetic Ghosts: Larry's presence tends to short-circuit all the lights in the area, since he needs power to sustain his presence in this world.
  • False Reassurance: A promise of never being alone with a new friend might sound sweet, if it weren't talking about a long-limbed monster that quite literally won't leave you alone.
  • Friendless Background: At the beginning of the film, Oliver hasn't made any friends at his school. Some of them don't understand his autism, and his only communicating through the tablet's text-to-speech program causes a divide between himself and the other students.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sarah goes with Larry to his world to spare Oliver from being taken.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The story that Larry manifests on Oliver's tablet claims he just wants a friend.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The trailer portrays Oliver walking past an electronics display with each screen turning on to show Larry as Oliver passes by it.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The monster of the film walks upright and looks relatively human, aside from its longer-than-natural limbs and very pale color. However, it isn't from our world and has unusual abilities (such as controlling electronic devices), which it uses to stalk its chosen "friend."
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Oliver draws pictures of dark, gangly creatures.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Larry. It genuinely seems like all Larry wants is a friend or companion. It's just that he's so alien that he's consistently unable to properly express his desires. He explicitly denies that he wants to hurt Oliver and the only times he ever directly acts antagonistically are when someone either threatens/harms Oliver or tries to separate him from Oliver. He attacks Byron, but only because Byron was bullying Oliver, and attacks Oliver's parents because they're trying to come between him and Oliver. In his interactions with Oliver, he's never aggressive, and one scene has him leaving a yellow sponge on top of Oliver's bed, seemingly attempting to bond with him over Spongebob. Even at the end of the movie, he leaves Oliver alone after Sarah agrees to be his friend, and allows Sarah to go and play with Oliver.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Played with. Sarah's arc is that she needs to learn to accept Oliver for who he is instead of secretly longing for a more "normal" child who will make her feel like a "real" mother. It's only when she gives herself to Larry to save Oliver and assures the latter that she "loves all of him" that Oliver finally looks her in the eyes like she wanted the whole time. However, rare for this trope, Sarah DOES get to enjoy her newfound bond with her son, as Larry apparently lets her visit and play with Oliver at the end of the movie.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: The monster follows Oliver everywhere, from public places to his own house, even after he ends up panicking after it initially asks to be friends.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Larry's eyes are red pinpricks.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Seems to be played straight at first, with Marty rebuffing any claims anything supernatural is happening and never being around when it does. But this is averted the instant he actually sees and is attacked by Larry while at work. From that moment, he is 100% on board with Sarah's theories and claims for the rest of the film.
  • Tag Line: He's good at taking friends.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The monster of the movie calls itself Larry. While it claims to be misunderstood, it considers stalking and scaring a young boy in his own home acceptable if it will achieve its goals.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Sarah. Larry targets lonely people. Oliver is lonely because of Sarah. A while before the start of the film, Oliver and Byron used to be friends before they got into some kind of fight. Oliver punched Byron and that was the end of their friendship. However, when Oliver and Byron talk later in the film, Byron tells Oliver that he was never actually that upset about the punch, saying that it barely hurt and didn't even leave a bruise. Byron was totally willing to continue to be friends with Oliver after that, but a voicemail message came in from Sarah claiming that Oliver wanted to end their friendship; something that Oliver never wanted. While Sarah certainly had Oliver's best interests in mind, and could never in a million years have predicted that Larry would have been the result of her actions, the fact remains that if Oliver had continued his friendship with Byron, Larry never would have been drawn to him in the first place.