Come True is a meandering mystery of intriguing images until it concludes with a copout ending.
The movie revolves around Sarah Dunn (Sarah Stone), a teenage runaway. She’s homeless only because she avoids her mother for unknown reasons. She sleeps at a playground or a friend’s house instead. She’s plagued by bizarre, surreal nightmares that always end with a shadowy figure with glowing eyes. Seeking treatment, she signs up for a sleep experiment.
The sessions work initially. But when her sleep partner leaves, Dunn’s nightmares worsen. She begins to question the experiment, and the mystery surrounding her “condition” is gradually revealed.
Director Anthony Scott Burns builds on this mystery with all the hallmarks of a moody science fiction horror story that, at first, captures your attention.
The sleep experiment is classified. The head of the study is searching for something. All the participants see the same dream. The scientists refuse to say anything. A young man named Riff (Landon Liboiron) takes an interest in Dunn.
Burns can craft an evocative dreamscape and lo-fi aesthetics using low-lighting and minimalist design. Dunn’s Silent Hill-like visions take you through dimly lit tunnels with protruding limbs and opening doors. Scientists try to capture the dream with analog technology, which results in fuzzy monochrome images on screen and greyscale pictures on paper. The atmospheric cinematography comes with a fittingly overbearing soundtrack.
Dunn continues to participate in the experiment, and in return, Riff will reveal the study’s true purpose. Eventually, the subconscious hauntings cross into real life, affecting her and other participants. In one scene, Riff hooks Dunn into a machine, and she sleepwalks toward the woods to find the creature.
Sadly, this search leads to an empty mystery box, just like the rest of the build-up. Some movies are more about the journey than the destination. In Come True, however, neither of the two is worthwhile. Burns has a knack for worldbuilding and mythmaking, but he can’t stick the landing.
Without revealing too much, Come True explores the unconscious mind and what lurks in its depths. But it’s neither as thought-provoking as The Possessor nor compelling as Real. Once the novelty of the visuals wears off, which is after the first dream, the plot becomes repetitive and tedious. The movie doesn’t give you anything to invest in – whether it’s the exploration of the dream world or the desires of its characters. The only thing it can come up with is sleep paralysis and a misplaced sex scene with icky implications.
Stone and Liboiron deliver good performances, but both of them are vapor thin. Why exactly should we care about Dunn, her connection with the creature, and what that creature signifies all dissolves into a copout ending.
Come True fails to translate its spooky visuals into an engaging dissection of the unconscious mind, resulting in empty answers and characters.