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Review: Come True – “An utterly gripping synthwave head trip thriller”

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Written and directed by Anthony Scott Burns (Our House), Come True stars Julia Sarah Stone (Honey Bee), Landon Liboiron (Truth or Dare), Christopher Heatherington (Herschell Gordon Lewis’ BloodMania) and Carlee Ryski (On The Rocks).

Sarah (Stone) is a teenager having trouble sleeping and at home. Nipping in and out of her house for supplies and avoiding her mother she kips in a sleeping bag on a slide in the park but is still haunted by weird dreams full of crazy, creepy imagery of stygian fantastical ruins populated by the figures of shadow men with glowing white eyes.

In a coffee shop, Sarah sees an ad on a notice board for a sleeping study that will not only give her a place to stay but some money too. Joining a small group, she is put in a suit full of sensors that is a cross between a Tron bodysuit and a padded cell. Scientists Jeremy (Liboiron) and Anita (Ryski) monitor her dreams every night, finding something disturbing that their boss, the sinister, Romero-glasses-wearing Dr. Meyer (Heatherington), is keen to pursue – no matter the danger.

Sarah and Jeremy begin to fall for each other, and as Sarah’s night terrors become a threat to not just her but those closest to her – and even when they’re awake – Jeremy and Anita try to figure out what is going on and what it all means before it’s too late.

Come True is an utterly gripping synthwave head trip thriller that’s like Flatliners meets A Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Stanley Kubrick and Michael Mann. It has a horror film vibe and some terrifying, brain smushing imagery but leans more into the spooky, mysterious and surreal than jump scares and gore.

Anthony Scott Burns gives the film visual style for days. Come True has a gorgeous 80s aesthetic that is all cool blues, muted purples and LED greens, shiny surfaces, beautiful symmetrical compositions and clean concise lines and dollies. 

Alongside a score of beautiful wavy beats from Electric Youth, that also includes the unforgettable ‘Coelocanth’ by Shriekback (the song in Manhunter when Dollarhyde takes Reba to pet the tiger) and the lo-fi equipment reminiscent of Alien’s worn tech, the film has a palpable and vivid atmosphere and a cool and haunting cassette futurism ambience that you would love to live inside.

Burns has a knack for pace and tone too, with Sarah and Jeremy’s romance feeling weird and cute and real and earned, and the nightmares and dreamscapes always coming at just the right time to keep you locked in and on edge as the mystery and truth unfold, building to a chilling set-piece finale and a stunner of an ending.

Come True is available as a Digital Download on the 15th March and released as a  limited edition Blu-ray on the 5th of April.

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