All Fun and Games 2023 Movie Review
You know the saying: “It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.” It’s something parents used to tell us when we were kids and roughhoused too hard, but in the context of the upcoming horror thriller “All Fun and Games,” the adage sounds more like a promise than a warning. The film follows a group of teens whose night of fun turns very high stakes when a demon gets involved, forcing them to play life-or-death versions of the kids’ games that many of us love. Fan-favorite actors like Natalia Dyer and Asa Butterfield are among the cast, and the Russo brothers’ production company is on board.
In a press release, Vertical Partner Peter Jarowey called the movie “a gripping debut film based on a high concept idea that caught, and held, our attention immediately.” There’s no trailer or “All Fun and Games” yet, but the movie does have a release date and some plot details to speak of. Here’s everything we know so far.
Horror fans will be able to catch “All Fun and Games” just in time for spooky season (assuming you start your celebrations a month early, like I do). The movie is slated for a September 1, 2023 release, and although its streaming home hasn’t been announced yet, it’ll be a day-and-date release. This means “All Fun and Games” is set to debut on a streaming site or PVOD the same day it’s out in theaters, so you can catch it at home or with an audience.
The movie comes via Joe and Anthony Russo’s production company AGBO, which has released its three most recent films (“The Gray Man,” “The Electric State,” and “Extraction 2”) as Netflix Originals. However, Vertical has the North American distribution rights to the film, and while a few recent Vertical movies have ended up on Netflix, several have also gone the paid on-demand route, so it’s possible that folks tuning in for this movie will have to rent or purchase it digitally. We’ll let you know when more release format information is available.
“All Fun and Games” takes the too-competitive camp and sleepover games of childhood and gives them a horrific edge. According to the official synopsis, the movie “explores the elements of cruelty inherent in children’s games” through a plot involving a demon that forces a group of teens to face off to the death after they discover its cursed knife in the wilderness.
Horror movies like “Truth or Dare” and “Would You Rather” have previously used party games as a pathway to some entertaining, royally messed-up stuff, and it sounds like “All Fun and Games” is set to do the same. The movie will include games like Flashlight Tag, Hide & Seek, and Hangman.
While I can’t imagine a non-horror-movie game of Hangman getting violent, I’ve definitely ended up with an injury while playing night-time hide and seek and flashlight tag. There’s no word yet on whether the thriller will also have a comedy edge to it, but I can imagine anyone who’s gotten too competitive in a game of Red Rover or Capture the Flag will get some dark chuckles out of seeing these games go off the rails.
The cast of “All Fun and Games” is excellent; Natalia Dyer, aka Nancy from “Stranger Things,” stars alongside “Sex Education” actor Asa Butterfield. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” alum Benjamin Ainsworth, “Locke & Key” actor Kolton Stewart, and “Ms. Marvel” actress Laurel Marsden round out the ensemble cast, while Annabeth Gish (“Midnight Mass”) seems to be the only adult supervision in sight for the crowd of youngsters.
While AGBO produces and Vertical is on board as a distributor, “All Fun and Games” actually features a brand new directing duo behind the scenes. Ari Costa and Eren Celeboglu have both worked on short films and TV shows before, but this will be the pair’s first time directing a feature film. In the past, Costa has worked as an associate producer on Marvel films like “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” and was also a production assistant on “Community.” Celeboglu, meanwhile, worked as a writer, director, and assistant on “Scrubs.” The pair will also co-write the script along with JJ Braider, whose previous credits include the TV adaptation of “Vampire Academy” and the Netflix original “From Scratch.”