Film Review – Come True (2020)

 Avoiding home and sleeping under the stars on playground slides 18-year old Sarah is mentally exhausted. When she does drift off she slips down a nightmarish rabbit hole and is hounded by a freakish shadow being.

Desperate for unmolested slumber she enlists for a 2-month stint at the local sleep clinic. Once exposed to their groundbreaking study techniques Sarah’s night terrors intensify in lucidity and her twisted dreamscape threatens to endanger everyone.

High in concept and low in budget this hugely entertaining Sci-Fi horror uses discombobulating imagery and a densely incubated sound design to suck you into a netherworld of misdirection. Pragmatically acted and ambitiously written Come True delights in weaving an intricate rug before whipping it gracefully from underneath our feet.

As we follow in Sarah’s psychologically choppy wake we become entwined in her distressing plight. Then, propelled on a tailwind of escalating tension, we are eventually blown into bleak and unknown territories alongside her.

Director Anthony Scott Burns never loses his focus even when his film is being deliberately obscure both visually and thematically. Spanning the awkward divide between ambiguity and comprehension by building a symbiotic bridge of prehensile ideas and elaborate confidence trickery.

One of the core themes that activates his creativity is the lack of respect blossoming technology has for historical ritualism and long gestated belief systems. This is a nutrient-rich Petri dish for the insidious rhizopus of paranormal fear to flourish. Indeed, Come True runs with the concept until its intrusive sleep spectre reaches beyond the established folklore of the traditional Shadowmen of sleep paralysis.

Narratively and technically his film is exquisite. Paced with the frigorific precision of early Polanski and plotted with a cheeky nod to the cinematic chicanery of vintage M. Night Shyamalan, it manages to be both derivative and innovative in equal measure. It will stand accused of too many endings syndrome and a kitchen sink mentality. Yet in its defence, the twists and leftfield curveballs are dexterously executed and extrapolate the established agenda with harmony and design.

The final reveal, on loan from the majestic Ian Banks, is stunning in its simplicity and devastating in the consequences it imparts on Sarah’s story.

Much more than just a spooky tale of narcoleptic terrorism this beautifully crafted horror flick welcomes fantasy voyeurism, ethical accountability and the ductile nature of mental frailty under its dystopian umbrella.

Structurally the film is Split into 4 distinct chapters. The Persona, The Anima and The Animus, Shadow and The Self culled from Jung’s Theory of  Personality. Normally this would be considered pretentious but not here. Come True has more than enough intellectual depth to justify the connections to the pioneer of analytical psychology. Furthermore, the events unfolding behind the title cards have tangible linkage to them adding a meaty layer of credible synergy.

Add to this the labyrinthine, but graspable, twists and a hairpin end reveal that will give you whiplash and you have a cult movie candidate ripe for intense post-credit debate.

Utilising a greying real-world palette to mirror the ashen backdrop of the dream sequences Come True benefits from a panoptical uniformity rarely found outside the work of David Fincher. The phantasmagorical imagery is arrestingly disturbing and intensifies exponentially under the distorted microscope of creeping existentialism.

One scene in particular during The Shadow segment of the film is a gorgeously unnerving masterclass in concentrated menace. Genuinely frightening it is a triumphant pay off for character investment and sophisticated world-building.

Less vicious and brain melting than the recent Sci-Fi horror hit Possessor, Come True is also sharper, more deceptively grounded and eminently more accessible.

This stylish and compelling mind fuck of a film will satiate horror junkies and fans of the fantastic alike. Come True is another commanding example of how the purposeful autonomy of independent cinema transforms clever ideas into exhilarating genre escapism.

★★★★★

Sci-Fi Horror, Supernatural, Mystery | Canada | 2020 | 105 mins | 15 | Lightbulb Film Distribution | Dir. Anthony Scott Burns | With. Skylar Radzion, Landon Liboiron, Julia Sarah Stone. CONTENT WARNING – Abuse, death, strong sense of dread and disturbing imagery throughout.

Come True is released in UK cinemas from 12th March, on Digital Download from 15th March & on Limited Edition Blu-ray from 5th April