Paperhouse title

Tag line : Is anybody there?

PaperhouseWhen young Anna Madden (Charlotte Burke) is taken ill and starts having blackouts, she discovers a very vivid dreamworld. It starts when she suffers a fainting spell in school and 'wakes up' to find herself on a hillside, next to a very realistic looking replica of a house she sketched earlier.

Waking up for real, she initially dismisses what she experienced as a dream and goes on to draw someone looking out of the window of the house in her earlier sketch. But when she blacks out for a second time, she's surprised to find herself back at the setting of her earlier dream and there's now a young lad named Marc (Elliot Spears) at the house, who is unable to walk.

With more of the things she sketches being incorporated into her dreams everytime she passes out, or goes to sleep, she becomes convinced that this is not just a dream. Even more so, when her doctor tells her about a lad in the hospital, who's also named Marc, who is also very ill and cannot walk, like the lad in her dreams

But things go awry when Anna attempts to sketch a picture of her dad into her drawing and they find themselves confronted by an angry looking ogre outside her dreamhouse the next time Anna falls asleep. But if its all a dream, then it shouldn't matter right? But if its real, what can she do to help?

Based on the novel 'Marianne Dreams' by Catherine Storr, this is a weird film to categorise. Its not quite a horror film for grown ups, but then its not really a scary film for kids either. The problem undoubtedly arises from the fact that the original book was written as a childrens fantasy novel, which they've tried to rewrite to appeal to older horror fans, putting it in an awkward middleground, in which its not really too sure which audience its trying to appeal to.

Directed by Bernard Rose, who went on to direct "Candyman", the film is very atmospheric and surreal and is kind of creepy, but failed to engage me and must admit, I found the ending a little bit confusing. Will probably be of interest to people who read the original novel, or who want to see Bernard Rose's pre-Candyman work, but the casual viewer may find it a tad slow. Look out for comedy actor Steve O'Donnel (The Cottage), who has a brief role as a dustman.

Overall marks : 4/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Charlotte Burke's only feature film. According to director Bernard Rose, after she left school she decided not to go into acting and studied Law and the last time they spoke, she was working as a lawyer.

  • American actress Gleanne Headley, who plays Anna's mother, wasn't aware that her character was supposed to be British until she came to overdub her lines. So she had to put on a British accent.

  • The book "Marianne Dreams", on which this story is based, had been adapted once before back in 1972, for a 6-part British childrens TV series entitled "Escape into Night".

  • The derelict railway station used in the film was the disused surface platform of Highgate Tube Station.

  • During the scene where the demonic father is breaking into the house, Charlotte Burke wasn't aware of what was going to happen and hadn't seen actor Ben Cross's make-up, so when he burst through the window in full make up, the look of fear and her screams were genuine and not acted.

  • Bernard Rose said he based the look of the film on the 1955 film "Night of the Hunter", which starred Robert Mitchum.

  • Author Catherine Storr did write a follow up novel to her original story, entitled 'Marianne and Mark' in which the 2 children, who are now teenagers, meet up again in real life several years later, though this proved to be less popular than the first.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.

 
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Other recommendations.

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