Anthony Scott Burns– Filmmakers, musicians and half of the team behind them “Our house”–Branches in science fiction with the scary hypnotic “Come true,” With Julia Sarah Stone. Take something Wes Cravencollapse David Cronenbergsprinkle a little over it Carl Jung and Philip K. Dickand you get “Come True” imagining a not-too-distant future where dreams are studied like math problems.
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Like Nancy Thompson almost 40 years ago (“Nightmare on Ulmenstrasse“), The dreams are always the same for a runaway teenage girl, Sarah (Stone), who sleeps in a playground and drinks caffeine to stay awake. When you see the tall, shadowy figure with the yellow eyes in her nightmare, you’ll understand why she chugs three cups of coffee a day. Sleep is not peaceful for Sarah and she begins to break down.
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When she discovers a flyer for a sleep study in the café, she goes over there. It seems legitimate with doctors and volunteers and hospital beds. But she soon wonders what’s really going on, the synth score suggests something more sinister, the brutalist architecture suggests something more perverse than the study “Sleep Paralysis” for which she signed up.
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The study is actually a ploy to penetrate their dreams and map the ruins of their broken psyche. The camera glides over misty cemeteries and leafless trees, up old steps and into abandoned buildings where the figure with the yellow eyes is waiting for them. It’s what the doctors are looking for, whatever the hell it is. And they are ready to do anything to find it.
With the overtones of “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Come True” is a cerebral horror movie that also feels very independent. In addition to directing, Burns wrote, edited, scored, and produced with just five cast and a budget of less than a million dollars. He even performs a few times with the production designer Nicholas Berchardso that they can fill out the script with more characters. There’s also plenty of filming at the University of California in San Diego, which while saving money, looks like a student movie to anyone who has spent a few on campus.
What makes Come True work are the associated fears and worries it plays with – we all have nightmares: How long does it take for them to become a reality? How long does it take before businesses can use our thoughts as well as our phones, televisions, and computers? So what?
Another crucial element is Sarah Stone’s performance. As a student, she is lonely and vulnerable. But seriously, desperate, and ready to fight back, they both become final girls and Virgin in distress.
“Come True” is a surreal, mysterious and efficient mix of science fiction references with an original ending. It lulls you into its rhythm with a disjointed narrative and a seamless flow of editing, cinematography, and rock-a-bye-baby pace. Like a nightmare itself, you won’t be able to snap out of it until the strange, indescribable scenario has taken its course. [B]