Parents' Guide to

Come True

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Unsettling sci-fi/horror about nightmares has blood, sex.

Movie NR 2021 105 minutes
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This sci-fi/horror tale pays homage to horror masters of the 1980s and earlier, while also boasting enough confidence and command to advance into something fresh, startling, and surprising. There are several references to the late George A. Romero in Come True, including a clip of Night of the Living Dead, a character wearing Romero's trademark big black glasses, and a "Romero" T-shirt. The humming, sinister electronic music recalls John Carpenter, and the clinical, gray-green visual tone (and strange costumes) brings to mind David Cronenberg. Yet director/co-writer Anthony Scott Burns -- who also provided the cinematography and co-composed the music -- isn't just copying his predecessors: He has clearly learned from them.

The screenplay (based on a story by Daniel Weissenberger) has plenty of brain-bending twists that keep burrowing deeper, rather than providing a single shock. The flickering, twitching, black-and-white nightmare images are real beauties, meant to provide a slow, eerie quality rather than spine tingles. And a long, striking sequence with a monitor hooked up to a sleepwalker becomes ever more breathless as it progresses into the darkness. But the real key to Come True is Stone (of The Killing) as Sarah: Her wispy, punk-rock hair and wide-set, haunted eyes make her feel vulnerable -- and deeply sympathetic. This is an odd film that's often a bit queasy, but it's ultimately quite powerful.

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