Bad dreams make for great horror in ‘Come True’

“Come True”

Not Rated. On digital and cable VOD.

Grade: A-


The connection between cinema and dreams has been explored in the work of such artists as Melies, Hitchcock, Bunuel, Cronenberg, Kubrick, Nolan, Aronofsky and Burton. Now, Canadian filmmaker Anthony Scott Burns joins these darkly eminent Surrealists with his Canadian indie effort, a Jungian horror film called “Come True.” The film tells the story of a troubled young woman named Sarah (the amazingly expressive 23-year-old acting veteran Julia Sarah Stone). Sarah has been sleeping under the stars in a small park and sneaking into her home to avoid her mother to wash up and get her things. The film opens with a dream full of strange and ominous sounds and music. From Sarah’s perspective, we see a cave, a door a person, and she awakes. The film is divided into a sections bearing such names as “The Persona” and “The Anima and the Animus.” Sarah goes to school, where she falls asleep in public. We see another dream, another door, a hall of headless bodies. Paging Dr. Cronenberg.

Sarah has a friend named Zoe (Tedra Rogers) with whom she bunks. Sarah is referred to a program at a sleep clinic with a resident mad scientist named Dr. Meyer (Christopher Heatherington) and young workers in lab coats, where Sarah puts on a “Tron”-ready white costume and a helmet resembling a cupped hand. The clinic has a ’70s steampunk vibe with old analog equipment with screens, dials and slides. Other young people are similarly assigned to white beds. Sarah’s dreams go deeper. We pass from one vignette to another, entering and exiting what might be rooms or theater or cinema sets. Eventually, we come upon a frightening person or persons, who resemble a shadow with red, burning eyes. Are the dreamers dreaming the same dream? The dark figure seems to want to enter the “real world” and almost succeeds. Have you had this dream? Are you creeped out yet?

You should be. The rooms we pass through might have been created by Cocteau (Remember his hall of disembodied arms in “La belle et la bete?”), H.R. Giger or Mike Mignola, the creator of “Hellboy.” Scott Burns adapted the script, edited, served as widescreen cinematographer and co-composed the score along with synth-pop duo Electric Youth. He also designed the visual effects. The story is not the strong suit of “Come True.” There is no white knight riding to Sarah’s rescue. In fact, the lead male character Jeremy (Landon Liboiron) is a lurking beardo in a trench coat. I was more impressed by this than that other recent Cronenbergian effort Brandon Cronenberg’s “Possessor.” In one scene, Sarah browses in a bookstore and almost buys a novel by Philip K. Dick (ha). We see a glimpse of “Night of the Living Dead” and a “Romero Phys. Ed.” t-shirt. The film’s greatest effects are Stone’s face and eyes. Sarah is a punk, live-action Coraline sleepwalking in a hospital gown in the fog in the mountains around Calgary. Suddenly, “Come True” goes all “Stranger Things” on us. What’s that in the trees around her? The soundtrack gets nutty with beeps, pulses and tweets. Stop the movie. Please, wake up.

(“Come True” contains disturbing images and brief nudity)

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