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  Come True Girl Of Your Dreams
Year: 2020
Director: Anthony Scott Burns
Stars: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron, Carlee Ryski, Christopher Heatherington, Tedra Rogers, Chantal Perron, Caroline Buzanko, Orin McCusker, Austin Baker, Tiffany Helm, Elena Porter, Marla Renae, Skylar Radzion, Maya Molly, Kaya Coleman, John Warkentin
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone) is a troubled teen who prefers to sleep on a playground slide instead of spending any more time alone with her mother, though she does regularly sneak into the family home to get something to eat and have a shower. She also attends school, where her stress and poor sleep patterns have a tendency to make her nod off in lessons, but one day she finds out about a sleep clinic that she feels could help her. She applies and is accepted, one of two women who are inducted onto a six-person course, and nothing about the set-up seems out of the ordinary, simply scientists investigating sleep... what could be more normal than that?

Well, obviously there is something strange going on or this would not have been made into a movie, the brainchild of director Anthony Scott Burns and his co-writer Daniel Weissenberger. As a Canadian production with a science fiction angle, the name of David Cronenberg would loom large in the expectations, especially with the sinister laboratory as its centrepiece, though funnily enough it was his very early works like Stereo or Crimes of the Future that fed into the tone and plotting, the sort of thing where the boffins don't find what they are expecting and there are some terrible consequences of that - but only really for a handful of people, not widespread.

So this was not some rerun of Rabid or Scanners, though you could discern some connections to other cult auteurs of yesteryear in its premise and the way it unfolded, stuff like Ken Russell's Altered States or John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness, solid cult efforts both. The choice to make its protagonist, who suffers because of these experiments, a teenager was interesting, but not wholly comfortable; for a start, you worry about her as a homeless person, and for another element there was a sex scene later on where one of the scientists, Jeremy (Daniel Radcliffe-with-beard looky-likey Landon Liboiron), seduces her, and not as a part of his overall research plans, either.

However, the purpose appeared to be to make the audience uneasy, and Burns achieved that with a relentlessly creepy atmosphere, not in a cliched manner, but in a clinical one. The dreams we see were like nothing you probably would have dreamed yourself, so no visions of wandering around the local supermarket sans trousers, they were tracking shots through gloomy landscapes peopled by shadowy figures with indistinct faces and curious constructions that had an arcane meaning, if only you were privy to what they were (Sarah and Jeremy have no idea either). The overall effect was ideal if you ever felt afraid of going into hospital for a check-up, lest you have some very bad news broken to you, it was that fear of the knowledge of the expert which fuelled much of the storyline as it progressed deeper into the murk.

Now, some had an issue with Come True (as in "a dream come true"), and that was the ending - though the deliberate, woozy pacing turned some off as well, when it was actually a bonus to what could have been a somewhat pretentious experience. But that climactic twist threw everything into a different perspective that not everyone was going to like, though if you were onboard with it, you would likely be very impressed as it did make a kind of sense, and certainly excused a lot of the more out there aspects of the script. Culminating in a long sequence where Sarah sleepwalks into what might end up being an oblivion all her own as Jeremy and his assistant dog her every move with their dream recording equipment, it was all undeniably compelling as they laid on the menacing, vague ambience on very thickly, and though as mentioned you could tie this to previous science fiction and horror films, it did come across as its own entity (oh, The Entity might have been an influence as well), and for that, worth the time of the adventurous, or even if you like to jot down your dreams in a notebook every morning. Great eighties-style electro-score too.

[Come True will be in UK Cinemas from 12th March, on Digital Download from 15th March & on Limited Edition Blu-ray from 5th April 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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