by Mario Dhingsa
Dissection & Reflection’s rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
If you’ve always wanted horror that will hound you three days later, if you’ve always liked your sci-fi on the sinister side, and if you’ve always known how scary sleep can be, then make sure you catch ‘Come True’ because your dream just came true!
This intriguing tale from Canadian writer-director, Anthony Scott Burns, revolves around Sarah Dunn, an 18 year old student who has recently run away from home. Spotting an advert for sleep trials at the local university, and the chance to sleep inside again for the next two months, Sarah duly signs up. And then the havoc begins…
To say any more would spoil an intricate story that doesn’t finish unfolding until the final scene. If you’ve finished this film and it doesn’t make sense, just give yourself fifteen minutes. Just to go over it again in your head. Trust me - it will start to click! This is certainly a movie that demands a second viewing if you can. There are some inspired touches of storytelling here, but to discuss them now would review plot points that you will just have to experience for yourself!
‘Come True’ has already made big impression internationally, winning six awards at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival (Best Actress, Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography, Best FX Make-up, Best Music Score, and Best Screenplay); and was crowned Best Fantastic Film at Spain’s Curtas Festival do Imaxinario.
There is unquestionably some excellent acting on show here. Julia Sarah Stone as Sarah Dunn is incredible, as her life and dreams are turned upside-down. She is able to balance fragility and confidence, terror and tenacity with an effortless grace. Christopher Heatherington as Dr Meyer is likewise mesmeric to watch as the orchestrating head scientist, trying what he can to keep them on track. But my favourite character here is sleep researcher Anita, played by Carlee Ryski. Her character arc is an impressively broad one, and Ryski carries it off with an incredible energy. Like Julia Stone, Ryski conveys so much in this film through her unspoken intensity.
The music score for ‘Come True’ is one of the film’s greatest hidden secrets. Composed by Electric Youth and Pilotpriest (a.k.a. Anthony Scott Burns again!) the synth soundscape will exhilarate and haunt you in equal measure. Electric Youth also provide the stand-out track ‘Modern Fears’, used to great effect by Burns in one particular dream sequence. If you liked Electric Youth’s ‘A Real Hero’ from Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’ (2011), then you’ll love ‘Modern Fears’.
No film is without flaws (including ‘Citizen Kane’) and ‘Come True’ is no different. While the plot is ingenious, the execution isn’t. There are pacing issues at times; and while it may be a slow burn, the combustion on screen can sometimes be a little too slow. The cinematography is also too dark and bleached for its own good. Moreover, there’s a romantic side plot that’s redundant and inappropriate, and thereby hangs a cloud over the third act of the film. And not everyone will find the ending convincing. The film may believe itself to be cleverer than it actually is. ‘Come True’ may hope to be ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, but only time will tell if it’s remembered that way.
For whatever faults you may find, ‘Come True’ remains a journey into the unexplored and a descent into unimaginable depths. And who can say no to that?...