Starring Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron, Carlee Ryski
Written by Anthony Scott Burns, Daniel Weissenberger
Directed by Anthony Scott Burns
Millions of people suffer from conditions like insomnia, sleep paralysis, or night terrors and a lot of these people report seeing shadow people while asleep. Wikipedia defines a shadow person as “the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, and, interpreted as the presence of a spirit or other entity by believers in the paranormal or supernatural.” This compelling phenomenon has been the subject of several movies and documentaries, but researchers still have no explanation for why some people see these shadow people.
Written by Anthony Scott Burns (Our House) and Daniel Weissenberger and directed by Burns, Come True tells the intriguing and frightening story of a girl named Sarah, played by Julia Sarah Stone, who is haunted by nightmares and is forced to face her fears. Burns has said that the story is somewhat autobiographical, and he’s been fascinated with sleep paralysis since he experienced it in his youth. Produced by Mark Smith (In the Tall Grass), Nicholas Bechard (Holidays) and Steve Hoban (Ginger Snaps) and Vincenzo Natali (Cube), Come True premieres at Fantasia International Film Festival on August 30th.
In a beautifully mesmerizing performance, Julia Sarah Stone plays a teenager named Sarah, who not only has trouble sleeping and recurring nightmares, she has problems at home. Sarah needs a place to crash and with nowhere else to go, she signs up for a sleep study. The head of the study is the elusive Dr. Meyer, played by Christopher Heatherington, who wears oversized glasses in an obvious nod to George A. Romero (Sarah even wears a Romero Physical Education t-shirt in one scene). One of the researchers, Anita (Carlee Ryski), asks Sarah questions about her sleep patterns every morning and one day she shows her some blurry photos that cause Sarah to have a massive panic attack. Something about the photos seems vaguely familiar, but Sarah doesn’t know what it is. Soon, she meets another member of the sleep study team, a researcher named Jeremy, quirkily played by Landon Liboiron (Hemlock Grove), who goes by the nickname Riff, which is short for Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Riff reveals part of the purpose of the study to Sarah, which is the ability to see people’s dreams, but he doesn’t reveal the ultimate goal. With Riff’s help, Sarah embarks on a quest through a hellish dreamscape to find the meaning behind her recurrent nightmares. The dream sequences throughout the movie slowly draw the viewer into the story and are utterly terrifying. Burns’ striking cinematography utilizes some impressively hypnotic visuals for Sarah’s nightmares. People who have experienced a sleep disorder will relate to some of the concepts of dreams and shadow people in Come True, which is what makes this movie so genuinely scary. While Come True features a breathtaking performance from Julia Sarah Stone, as well as a dazzling visual journey, the romance between Sarah and Riff is more than a little bit awkward. Fortunately, the romance isn’t as problematic once you’ve seen the mind-bending final act.
Burns does an excellent job of making this film feel personal and making it a mesmerizing visual experience as well as an effective horror movie. The relatability of Sarah’s story and the nightmares she encounters is what makes this movie so chilling. Come True is an extraordinary film that presents some novel theories about sleep and dreams with a jaw-dropping ending that is truly thought-provoking and absolutely unnerving.
Come True presents some thought-provoking concepts about sleep and dreams in a visually dazzling way that is genuinely terrifying.