Sleep paralysis is an utterly horrifying conceit, and new sci-fi horror film Come True takes full advantage of utilizing this terror to the fullest extent. The concept only serves as basis for a premise padded with creepy imagery – bodies stuck to walls, massive dark pits, crumbling columns, and even mysterious doorways that brought to mind early Resident Evil. Nearly every frame is steeped in impending dread, with the constant presence of shadowy figures with beady eyes serving to pump up the fear factor to the extreme. Director Anthony Scott Burns brings to mind the foreboding nightmarish imagery of Silent Hill and constantly has the viewer questioning the reality of it all. A divisive ending will join the ranks of horror greats and I strongly suspect it will illicit either a love or hate response from viewers with nothing in between.
After running away from home, Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone) begins having recurring nightmares. She decides to become part of a sleep study program through a local university that will temporarily provide her with secure living, but her visions when asleep quickly start to bleed into her day-to-day life. She befriends the strange Jeremy (Landon Liboiron) who might be able to help her make sense out of her increasingly unstable sleep patterns.
The nightmares in this film are successful in a way that many depictions of them onscreen are not: they actually feel like real nightmares. They are staged in a way that puts us right in the mind of the dreamer. The stunning use of shadow and lighting throughout these sequences especially makes them all the more effective. The excellent score adds to the haunting atmosphere and the film’s strangely hypnotic quality. I loved both Julia Sarah Stone and Landon Liboiron as the film’s leads, with Julia in particular carrying most of Come True’s hefty emotional weight bravely on her shoulders. The film’s first half has a minimal use of dialogue and yet Julia conveys exactly what Sarah is feeling through the subtleties of her performance.
The tone and style is treasured above a narrative that doesn’t waste any time with expositions or explanations. The ending is so abrupt that it leaves you with a laundry-list of questions, and this for sure is the one place I would’ve loved more elaboration. It’s hard not to admire a film that swings for the fences and tries something different, and this certainly accomplishes that. It’s wildly original and presents a singular vision complemented by gorgeous cinematography.
What any individual person finds scary is wildly different depending on your own personal tastes and is completely subjective. For this viewer, though, Come True is a potent dose of horror that followed me into dreams of my own. This isn’t a movie that goes for the cheap and easy jump scares, but rather one that burrows its way into your mind with striking imagery. Cerebral terror at its finest, Come True will release in select theaters and VOD platforms on Friday, March 12th, via IFC Midnight and Lightbulb Film Distribution.