Imagine being so afraid to sleep that you can’t even stay in your own home. This is Sarah at the start of Come True. A senior in high school, she wakes up in a sleeping bag on a playground in the films first scene.
Sarah is terrified, and rightly so. Her dreams are long, slow, camera movements through caves and hallways, past mountains and surreal sculptures, and they all inevitably lead to a dark figure with glowing white eyes.
Frustrated and terrified, she eventually joins a sleep study to try to figure out what is going on, and this is where things take a slight twist, we soon find out that the scientists conducting the study are not only studying dreams, they have the technology to see them.
Come True is an inventive and unsettling horror film from director Anthony Scott Burns. It has a decidedly 80s stylistic flair to it, complete with pastel lighting and an engrossing synth score. The suits that Sarah wears for the sleep study look like a cross between something you’d find in either a low budget 1970s TV series and a big-budget 1970s movie. The lead scientist has eyeglasses that are so large to say they make him look like an owl would be unfair to owls.
Let me be clear; none of this is a complaint. Come True looks awesome whether we’re talking about scenes from the real world or Sarah’s surreal and terrifying dreams.
Julia Sarah Stone plays Sarah, and it is clear that she is a burgeoning young talent. Sarah has a desperation about her, and a feeling of sorrow and Stone is able to bring that to her performance with nuance and grace. The film asks for a lot of difficult emotions from her, and she delivers in spades.
Come True does have a problem, though, and that problem is the films final moments. The first two acts of the film build toward something strange and interesting and terrifying, and they do so with great a great central performance and surreal visuals. Then in the third act, most of that goodwill is undone by an ending that is, to put it mildly, a bit of a cop-out.
I won’t spoil it for you, but rest assured: that is putting it mildly.
That being said, the film is worth watching for those first two acts. They really are the business, and based on them, I’m excited to see what Burns does next and to look up everything Stone has done to date. This makes Come True a bit of a disappointment, but one worth experiencing for yourself.
Come True will air on SuperChannel as part of the 2020 Blood in the Snow Festival on Saturday, November 7th at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern.