Dreams and nightmares should be fertile ground for horror movies. To date, we still don’t really know much about our dreams. Nonetheless the horror genre has seldom exploited this unknown to great effect. Of course, Wes Craven set the bar with A Nightmare on Elm Street, which recently made its way to the National Film Registry. Aside from Elm Street, 2015 release The Nightmare, which is a documentary, is pretty damn scary, too. And now Canadian sci-fi/horror hybrid, Come True, has attracted praise from critics, even findings its way on to some ‘Best of’ horror lists in 2021.
Teenage Sara Dunn is a runaway alternating from couch-surfing to living off the streets. For most of her life, Sara has also suffered strange, troubling nightmares. So when she’s approached to participate in a sleeping for money she reluctantly agrees. However, with each study session, Sara grows increasingly uncomfortable. Somehow the studies are making her nightmares worse. And the shadowy figures with glowing eyes that have hidden in her unconscious since she was a child feel more real than ever.
Come True Builds Its Atmosphere to a Compelling Conclusion
Ignore some of the promotional materials on streaming platforms for Come True. If some of the poster screen images promise a generic low-budget thriller they couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather Come True is an intelligent, thoughtfully-paced thriller that unsettle more than it scares. Writer and director Anthony Scott Burns (Our House) has learned a lot since his debut effort. Like the best horror movies, Come True understands that ambiguity is often more unsettling than exhausting exposition. At no point in the movie does Scott Burns tell us much about the researchers’ study and its purpose. Why has Sara run away from home? What is the common source of all the patients’ shared nightmares? None of these questions are answered. And Come True is a better movie for it. Its story slowly unfolds in a meticulously paced manner that demands attention.
Once the sleep studies begin Come True slowly ratchets up this tension, relying less on jumps and more on eliciting discomfort.
In addition, Scott Burns demonstrates a much more capable hand at crafting atmosphere and scares in his sophomore effort. Though Come True takes its time Scott Burns uses its first third to build an effecting atmosphere that maintains a sense of uneasiness. Once the sleep studies begin Come True slowly ratchets up this tension, relying less on jumps and more on eliciting discomfort. Initially, Scott Burns teases his horrors through the movie’s intentionally vague science. But one scene that fully unveils its shadowy nightmarish figures becomes almost unbearable in its suspense. In its climax, Come True obtains an almost unbearable sense urgency.
Come True’s Ambiguous Storytelling Earns Its Open Ending
For some viewers, Come True’s ending will frustrate. It’s both ambiguous and ultimately raises more questions than it answers. In fact, Scott Burns’ final shot forces audiences to question everything they’ve seen in the movie. But it’s also a well -earned ending. Throughout this sci-fi/thriller, Scott Burns only doles out vague pieces of information about specific plot points. Similar to the movie’s atmosphere and aesthetics, the story almost operates on a dream-like level. As a result, Come True’s ending is completely in keeping with everything that has transpired in the movie to that point.
As teenage runaway Sarah, relative unknown Julia Sarah Stone shines with a rather enigmatic performance.
Much of Come True also works courtesy of its star’s performance. As teenage runaway Sarah, relative unknown Julia Sarah Stone shines with a rather enigmatic performance. It’s an emotionally layered performance wherein Sarah proves to be both rebellious and defiant while also showing vulnerability. Moreover, Stone shares quite a bit of chemistry with co-star, Landon Liboiron (Hemlock Grove). Liboiron’s ‘Riff’ (Jeremy) also grounds the movie in a bit of reality, also providing a bit of exposition when necessary.
Come True Another Surprisingly Good Indie Effort for 2021
If its slow to get where it’s going, Come True serves to remind us that good things do come to those who wait. Though some things don’t quite work, the sum of this Canadian sci-fi/horror is greater than its parts. Scott Burn’s early ambiguous storytelling and Stone’s performance are enough to you watching. As the creepy atmosphere and imagery intensifies, Come True’s final act finds the thriller firing on all cylinders. Without spoiling anything, the ending alone makes the entirety of the movie worth watching