Canada, 2020, Horror/Sci-Fi
Director: Anthony Scott Burns
Cast: Julia Sarah Stone (Sarah), Landon Liboiron (Jeremy)
Divisive from the start
An appreciated quality in works of art is their transgressive spirit. We see little of this in today’s cinema, which is more concerned with pleasing and getting money, with good reason. But in Come True, we get a divisive film, made that way with all intention by its creator Anthony Scott Burns, who apart from directing, also writes, does the cinematography, and even the music.
Nightmares and bad sleep
We meet Sarah, a teenage girl who sleeps in a park and avoids her mother every time she returns home. Even though she normally attends classes, we can see that there are problems in her life. And the main problem is her trouble sleeping. In addition, when she can finally fall asleep, Sarah is attacked by strange and terrifying nightmares, where she travels through nebulae and dark territories, sometimes surrounded by bodies in painful positions. In the end, she always finds a strange, dark humanoid being with bright eyes. Sarah enrolls in a sleep study to see if she can fix her problem. This decision will change her life.
Burns’ story is strongly inspired by the writings of Phillip K. Dick, where not everything is always what it seems, and in the cinema of David Lynch, and his penchant for filming dreams. With an original story that develops slowly but surely, and with a good level of mystery, it introduces us to a dreamlike and terrifying world. The nightmare scenes are well done. Burns took good care of the parts of the film that develop in the real world, the cinematography is devoid of vivid colors. This helps to avoid a big visual difference between reality and dreams, giving the film visual and aesthetic coherence.
Sarah does a great Sarah
Julia Sarah Stone does an excellent role as Sarah. Her natural ability to show emotions without words, just through her facial expressions, makes her acting just what this script needed. Is a script with no much dialogue, and the actors require to show a wider range of emotions with no words. The rest of the cast is just adequate. Dialogues are realistic, but the story is slow to develop. Jeremy’s subplot takes time away from the main story, which doesn’t help the pacing of the movie. But although the film is presenting an unusual story, the way it is told is very conventional and easy to understand.
Art direction, lighting, and music have a strong influence on 80s cinema. We can see a couple of posters, one from Weekend at Bernie’s and one from The Terminator. The technology looks old, outdated. And even the cars the characters drive are old. All this gives a special, futuristic-retro feel to the whole film.
A little gem
The whole story is resolved in the final sequence, where a revelation will change the perception of everything the viewer has seen. This situation is going to raise more questions than answers. Not all viewers will welcome this. Just the response that Burns wanted to convey, by wanting to make a movie that people would love or hate. Still, it is a film made with commitment and its achievements outweigh its failures and is worth watching. A small sci-fi gem. If you want the movie to surprise you, stop reading here. If you already saw it, or want to have more information to understand it better, continue reading the next section that will contain spoilers.
Final revelation (spoilers)
In the final sequence, Sarah receives a message on her cell phone that tells her that she has been in a coma for 20 years asking her to wake up. Although this explains somewhat the supernatural events we have seen, this revelation leads us to wonder: At what point in the movie did Sarah fall into a coma?. How much of what we saw in the film was the real world and how much were Sarah’s mind creations. Before going to that, a couple of situations need to be explained. Firstly, Burns in several interviews has not revealed the true meaning of the ending. He deliberately wants it to be kept open for the viewer.
Shadows. Anima and Animus
The shadows, One of the chapters found in the film is named The Shadow. And to explain them there are two tendencies. Either the shadows are strange beings that inhabit that subconscious collective world of people who are in a coma, as evil guardians, preventing people from waking up, or they are representations, also subconscious, of doctors and researchers in the real world that try to wake the person up. Anima and Animus in the theory of the psychologist Carl Jung maintains that the Anima is a feminine aspect within the man and the Animus the masculine aspect within the woman. This will explain Sarah and Jeremy’s relationship.
When did Sarah fell into a coma?
There are several possibilities and we will be talking about them and how feasible they are: At some point shortly after entering sleep study institute. When she is in the washateria and a shadow is seen walking behind her in a very discreet way. When she’s making love to Jeremy. Or, the whole film develops within a comatose Sarah’s mind.
Any of these three options have valid arguments to be the moment when Sarah fell into a coma, but there is a situation that in my opinion, rejects them. And it is that from the first scene we see Sarah sleeping in the park, she is already dreaming of dark beings with bright eyes. These beings are part of the minds of people who are in a coma, whatever their interpretation. So we can argue that the whole film takes place inside Sarah’s mind, who is already in a coma from the beginning of the film.
We do not know exactly how, but Sarah’s coma may be related to her mother, which she avoids facing. The fact that we see Sarah’s life in episodes, in a disjointed way from the beginning, in scenes that drastically take us from one situation to another, as in a dream, supports the theory that Sarah spent the entire duration of the film in a coma.
A kind of uplifting end
In the end, when Sarah is found to have killed Jeremy, it may be the representation that Sarah has removed the masculine part of her personality. Her Animus. She is now the complete owner of her unconscious. Is at this point that she can receive the message that she is in a coma. Perhaps emerging victorious from her internal struggle is what Sarah needed to finally be ready to receive the news of her condition. Consciously knowing her state, in the final scene we see a Sarah who owns herself, no longer grieved and somehow playing with her dream situation by developing vampiric fangs. Will she finally be able to wake up? We do not know, but everything seems to indicate that she is.
A divisive film. Great acting from the lead and eeries nightmarish scenes. You will love it or hate it.