So, while 2020 was LOADED with horror flicks due to their small budget and the limited release formats caused by COVID-19, 2021 has been surprisingly lacking in the genre to the point where I realized that unless you count “Shadow in the Clouds” as a horror flick, I haven’t really covered any movies from that genre in the first three months of the year. So I delved onto the internet to see what I’ve obviously been missing and came across an intriguing movie called “Come True”, a sci-fi horror blend that seems to be the talk of the town lately due to its enigmatic themes and controversial ending. So I hopped on to Amazon and gave it a watch if for no other reason than to try and fill my horror quota and oh GOSH was this an awesome movie! “Come True” stars several smaller names including Julia Sarah Stone who plays teenage runaway Sarah who volunteers to take part in a sleep experiment partially run by Landon Liboiron’s Jeremy. The experiment allows Jeremy and his staff to see what Sarah and others are dreaming as they try to uncover the mystery behind ominous black beings that seem to be a shared experience among the dreamers. However, the lines between dream and reality become blurred and the black beings become a even more dangerous presence for Jeremy, Sarah and others. It’s an inspired premise that explores some real philosophical, psychological and scientific theories resulting in one of the most genuinely mind-bending horror features I’ve seen in some time.
“Come True” was one of those movies where after I saw it all I wanted to do was talk about it for hours. Much of the film revolves around Carl Jung’s personality theories even using concepts from the famed psychologist to label different sections of the story. Throughout the movie we follow Sarah, who is avoiding her mother and choosing to live on the street or with friends, as she deals with her inability to sleep and when she does sleep she sees black figures in her dreams thus she wakes up feeling groggy and lives out of the coffee pot. These could be, and likely are, a physical representation of the alleged shadowy figures that those who suffer sleep paralysis have claimed to see upon waking. These complex, real-world theories and ideas play into the main plot of “Come True” with Sarah at the center. Yet there’s always this perfectly odd dream-like quality to the entire experience even when Sarah is supposed to be awake. Right from the start the film gives you the feeling that things MIGHT be off but yet they look normal and by the end of the movie you start to question reality along with Sarah and the characters which is, inevitably, by design.
Movies like this fascinate me. “Come True” is the kind of sci-fi/horror blend that will frustrate people because it’s far from a simple experience especially in its conclusion which drops a huge and controversial bombshell in the final moments making you question what you just saw. Was it a cop out or was there something you missed? I literally watched this movie twice because I felt like it was the later. This is a big deal for me because these reviews are usually based on my first viewing, but this film demanded a rewatch to properly present an opinion. The ending will either make or break this movie for you so be aware of that going in, but for me it complimented what was already a fascinating and engaging experience that took complicated scientific concepts and folklore and combined them into an experience that is less horror in the traditional sense and more a examination of real world terrors like the unknown within our minds and dreams and the helplessness of controlling what we see in deep sleep. Director, editor and cinematographer Anthony Scott Burns, who also directed 2018’s “Our House” a horror movie I only just familiarized myself with last year, produces a well-paced and inspired concept-heavy feature that uses discomforting music and an overarching strangeness to draw the viewer in and frighten not with jump scares but mostly through its imagery, tone and suspense alone.
Compliments should also go to the film’s star Julia Sarah Stone who has been around for over a decade but I’m just now starting to see in bigger projects. She plays Sarah, a clearly conflicted young woman who is on the run from her mother and seems to have trouble sleeping until she enrolls in the sleep experiment that introduces her to demons in her dreams that she normally forgets when she awakens. Stone does a spectacular job providing a controlled and layered performance that doesn’t over or underplay anything from her confusion to her amazement and even her frustration and terror over not just the experiment but the roadblocks of her life. She’s an insecure and frustrated teenager seeking answers and it never feels like we know more than she does even when the focus is shifted to other characters for a time. One issue I see a lot of people talking about is her relationship with the male lead Jeremy, played by Landon Leboiron, who is an older man studying Sarah’s dreams who eventually becomes her love interest. There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not this relationship is appropriate due to Jeremy’s influence over Sarah or if the movie vilifies him properly but to me that plays into the complexity of the larger story. Jeremy to me never feels like a good guy or a bad guy and I think there are bigger reasons for that stemming from some of my personal theories as to what’s really going on. On the surface it may seem like the film is downplaying his sins but when you reach the final moments of the film and that epic reveal it opens the door for a potential deeper examination cleverly hidden within the film that could otherwise be overlooked. What I can say without spoiling things is that Landon Liboiron does a fine job riding that line between trustworthy ally and dangerous self-centered fiend and I think that was the perfect line to ride for this character specifically providing some ambiguity for viewers to read between the lines.
There’s so much more I could go into with this movie as I have countless theories about it, but that would require a spoiler review and maybe that’s something I’ll explore in a future feature. For now though, I’ll say this is one heck of a ride that ends with a huge twist that to me opened up a world of possibilities for what was really going on where others could see it as a cop out. So, I reiterate that the ending of this movie will either make it or break it for you and to me it made this one of the most thought-provoking movies worthy of analytical breakdowns that I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s also one of the most atmospheric and inspired horror movies conceptually that I’ve seen in some time and reminded me a lot of “It Follows” in terms of it’s inspired theming and use of music and suspense, and if you follow my blog regularly you know how highly I think of that movie. “Come True” is complex, engaging, creepy and offers more questions than answers which is exactly how I like these kinds of films to be. I want to be challenged as a viewer and I feel like “Come True” offered me that kind of challenge for the first time in 2021. It’s a movie I believe will earn mixed responses but one I recommend to anyone as a journey worth taking at least once and probably many times more.