come true | anthony scott burns | julia sarah stone | landon liboiron | carlee ryski | sci-fi | canada | christopher heatherington | tedra rogers | brandon dewyn | john tasker | austin baker | shane ghost keeper | christopher thomas | caroline buzanko | orin mccusker
Film: Come True
Director: Anthony Scott Burns
Writer: Anthony Scott Burns
Starring: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron and Carlee Ryski
This was a movie that my buddy over on Facebook of Tim had been championing for some time. I respect his opinion on movies to check out, even if we don’t always agree on them. Because of that, I added this to my list of 2021 releases to see and decided to make this a Featured Review on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast as well. I’ll be honest; I briefly skimmed the synopsis, but didn’t necessarily know what I was getting into here. The synopsis is a teenage runaway takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams.
We start this movie off moving through mist. It appears we are moving toward a rock formation and then toward a door. We are then getting our first glimpse of someone in shadows. Their eyes are glowing.
A young woman then wakes up in a park. She is camping out on the slide and her name is Sarah Dunne (Julia Sarah Stone). This movie is told in 4 chapters, with the first being The Persona. Sarah rides her bike to a house where she waits for a woman to leave. Sarah sneaks inside to get cleaned up, grab a few things and heads to school. There she speaks with her friend of Zoe (Tedra Rogers). Through their interaction we learn that Sarah has run away from home like the synopsis states. She is trying to find a place to stay, but it appears she will have to camp out again. She goes back home, grabs her sleeping bag and her mother almost catches her in her room. We never do learn why she left.
Sarah has another dream similar to the one we saw and this is something that continues to happen throughout. She struggles to stay awake in school. That day she does find a flyer for a sleep study and decides to check it out. She goes through intake with Anita (Carlee Ryski). This starts the next chapter of The Anima and the Animus.
She gets selected for this along with another woman and four males. They will get paid to sleep there while wearing these futuristic looking outfits that include a helmet. The next morning, they get asked some questions. The first morning after Sarah wakes up more rested than she has in some time. She goes to a bookstore where she encounters Jeremy (Landon Liboiron). He recommends a book she is looking at from Philip K. Dick. Later that day, Sarah is spooked when she and Zoe go to the movies and this same guy shows up there as well.
This isn’t the last time that she encounters him. She is also worried when Emily (Caroline Buzanko), who is her roommate for the study, doesn’t show up the second night. The following morning Sarah is shown some images that agitate her and send her into a panic attack of sorts. She wants to quit the study which upsets Dr. Meyer (Christopher Heatherington) who is in charge. He is upset with Jeremy, Anita and the others working for him as this wasn’t part of their project.
Jeremy is only able to keep Sarah as part of the study by revealing what they’re actually doing. She is quite upset, but she is also doesn’t have anywhere else she can go. We also see there is something up with the experiment they’re doing. There is a phenomenon they were hoping that would happen with everyone here experiencing the same nightmare of these shadow people with the glowing eyes.
That gets you up to speed with the story and where the movie is going without taking you into spoilers. Where I want to start is warning you that this is a slow-burn and I don’t know if everyone will like this movie. It is creepy with the images that we are seeing through the dreams and it helps to build the atmosphere from there. I would say that there are some interesting concepts built from there as well.
First what I want to delve into is the idea of dreams. We still don’t know a lot about them. That is something that I find fascinating, especially since you have some great horror minds that use their dreams as the basis of their works. We learn this early enough in the movie that I don’t think it is a spoiler to share, Dr. Meyer was hoping that everyone he selected for this study would sync up in dreaming about these shadow people. Through podcasts and research on the internet, this is a phenomenon that I didn’t realize existed. It is a terrifying idea and I like that this movie is incorporating them. They are also using sleep paralysis here, another thing that scares me.
Next I’ll shift from this idea to our main character of Sarah. I like what the movie does to allow us to get to know her. We know that she is dreaming about what I stated above and I almost get the feeling she is the catalyst for this study. I could be wrong there, but that is the idea I’m getting. Jeremy is going a bit rogue with this experiment with the help of Anita which in the end angers Dr. Meyer. There is technology in this movie that allows them to map and record what we are seeing in dreams. The way it is presented works for me, even though this is science fiction currently since as far as I know. This leads to the climax that is quite creepy with what is seen and the atmosphere again helps.
I don’t think this all necessarily works though. Now if you know me, you know that I like slow burns. I do think this one has a bit that could be trimmed to tighten it up. Because of having a bit of that filler there, it does take some time to get to what is creepy here for me. I also feel that it affects some of this factor that we saw early on as well. I’m fine with them establishing things like the characters and the experiments, but I think some of it can be trimmed for me. There is also a reveal at the end that I both liked and disliked at the same time. This will be one that I need to rewatch to see what I might have missed as I don’t fully understand.
From the story I’ll take this to the acting for this movie. I was impressed with Stone here. Early into this movie, she is exhausted. They do well with the make-up to convey that, but she also acts like someone who is not sleeping. That worked for me. I also like that we understand her plight without needing unnecessary information to explain it further. Liboiron is also fine as the male lead. He comes off as creepy when he’s following Sarah. There is something off about him though as the movie goes on that I didn’t like. It isn’t anything he does, but what was written into this character with Sarah. The rest of the cast is there in support of these two and for me they rounded out what was needed.
Then there are the effects, cinematography and soundtrack. I’m going to combine the first two here. The looks of the dreams are creepy. There is mist so it lowers our visibility as well as hiding things when needed. What we are seeing doesn’t always make sense and I give credit to the cinematography there. The look of the shadow people is good. What I want to also give credit for is the atmosphere as well since as this moves along, the lines between reality and dreams are blurred which worked. I think the soundtrack helps here as well. It fits for what they needed and is quite unnerving as well. It worked for me what they were going for with it in building this.
So then in conclusion here, this movie has some good things going for it. Dream sequences are something I’m not always a fan of, but if your concept is built around dreams then I am more forgiving. What they do with this idea is interesting as they build in some science fiction. I do think that the acting works well here for Stone bringing the character of Sarah to life. The rest really round this out for what is needed. I’d say that the effects, cinematography and soundtrack help to build the atmosphere we need. If I do have some issues, it is just a bit slow. With some trimming, I think it could run tighter. Aside from that, there is a reveal at the end that had me questioning things. For me, despite the minor flaws I have with it, I found this to be a good movie. This is one that I will revisit before the end of the year to see how it sits with that second viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10