Paperhouse - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Paperhouse Reviews

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½ July 18, 2013
Fantasy with a horror undertone that reflects some of the film's heavier themes. A girl (Burke) draws a house which becomes a fixture in her dreams, and within the house she finds an ill boy who is actually real, and whose wellbeing is affected by her dreams and creations. The film is probably best enjoyed by teens, as it includes issues that relate to that age group: first love, first experience with death, dysfunctional family life, and so on. Burke's performance, although not always the best, is offbeat and interesting. I just couldn't find the plot all that interesting, and felt constantly annoyed by Hans Zimmer's shrill, overbearing score.
May 10, 2013
This is an excellent movie. I would love to add this one to my UltraViolet locker.
½ April 10, 2013
British director Bernard Rose gives us a low-key curio, a childs-eye view of feverish fantasy before he delivered more straightforward horror thrills with the later genre classic 'Candyman'.

Indeed, 'Paperhouse' reaches its zenith as a scary movie about an hour in, and from then on becomes a sort of psychological drama as Anna - the young female protagonist - attempts to deal with her illness-induced problems in the real world.

The film's recurring dream sequences stem from 11 year old Anna's basic pencil drawings during a bout of glandular fever and work superbly; giving the film a strong visual motif from the outset and drawing lingeringly on childhood fears and desires, some of which are proved to be frighteningly irretractable.

The use of the shadowed father figure (Ben Cross) - absent in the real world - as the antagonist in these dreams provides the film with its effective shock moments, and Rose makes excellent, sparing use of sound and composition. The 'Paperhouse' itself is a stark, concrete vision and acts as a creepy purgatory for the children, in a way that almost intones the cold, stone corridors of Clive Barker's visions of hell.

Charlotte Burke as Anna doesn't always entirely convince in the acting stakes but she has a very difficult task of holding together the fantasy and realistic elements, and certainly conveys both the charm and the infuriating nature possessed by an 11 year old. American star Glenne Headly also makes a welcome appearance as Anna's under-pressure mother.

'Paperhouse' is fairly easy and cheap to get hold of in on DVD in the UK, and is certainly worth a punt for fans of ghost stories, if not those of out-and-out horror. It is to me also strongly reminiscent of Frank LaLoggia's 'Lady In White' from the same era in its dream-like passages; and would make a great double bill with it.
½ March 4, 2013
I was drawn to Paperhouse because of it's director, Bernard Rose. I've liked his work over the years (Candyman, Immortal Beloved, Mr Nice) and was keen to find some of his early stuff. Paperhouse was his third film and as soon as I read the synopsis I had to buy it. How this movie eluded me all these years is beyond me. It tells the story of an 11 year old girl, Anna, who is struck down with glandular fever and suffers frequent black-outs. In her boredom she takes to drawing... her first picture is a house. During her black-outs she finds herself inside her own drawing where she meets a lonely boy. She had drawn him in the top window and forgot to give him legs. She soon realises that she can control this world by adding to her picture in her waking hours. At first fun, her fantasy takes a sinister turn when her alcoholic father finds his way into the drawing... his eyes are removed and he wields a hammer and he's hellbent on bashing Anna. If I had discovered this film when I was a kid it would have scared the living shit out of me. The imagery is great and Bernard Rose establishes himself as a serious director. Its a film that needs to be scratched below the surface and I suspect repeat viewings will reveal less obvious subtexts and parallels. While suitable for children (10+) Paperhouse offers a twisted psychological horror that will frighten the pants off the young'uns. Comparable titles are Mirrormask and The Fall. I'm glad I stumbled upon this one... better late than never.
February 24, 2013
i liked it - definitely intriguing. i'm interested in reading the children's book this was based off of just to see how much they actually pulled from the book. i would love to see what directors now days would do to a story like this.
February 22, 2013
My favourite movie! I like em strange, scarey and made with that rare clockwork called a heart grafted to a brain and this moved me deeply! So much so I spent years in the sucessful hunt for the wonderful soundtrack and book. Recommend the book a lot for what it left out and the movie for what it added and made better!!!! Bravo!!!! We need more like this!!!! 23 years later and still unbeaten!!! Filming, acting, plot, visuals engageability and MAGIC 100%!!!!!! Brilliant!!!!
January 16, 2013
I loved! Very good movie!!!
It has a good story and good actors!
December 11, 2012
A girls Dream become real
This is a very touching movie
½ October 21, 2012
I hate this movie with every fiber of my being. The main character is completely unlikable. The story slowly builds to nothing. Unbearably boring, and obnoxiously self indulgent. It might have been mildly entertaining edited as a short film, but stretched to a feature length it is absolutely maddening.
½ September 28, 2012
moving sometimes frightening story of a childs imagination seemingly affecting reality.recommended.
½ August 29, 2012
Like Peter Jacksonâ(TM)s film Heavenly Creatures this forgotten fantasy film successfully walks the line between child-like imagination and paranoid delusion
½ June 25, 2012
Filme estranho sobre os sonhos que uma criança tem enquanto está doente. A trilha sonora à (C) pà (C)ssima, mas o roteiro à (C) bom.
June 11, 2012
One of the best deep thinking mystery movie I've seen. I wish it would come too dvd.
May 10, 2012
This was a very good movie. Some what of a psychological thriller/mystery movie. The acting was spot on and the darkness of the movie kept me interested the whole time. Not bad for what I thought was a B-film/low budget production
May 8, 2012
An original and well made chiller.
May 2, 2012
creepy, weird, and very visual movie. liked it a lot.
April 20, 2012
Self serious and heavy handed, but still a well made dark fantasy of a young girl working through her fears in a surreal dream world. Stylishly direction and photography are what make the film worth watching, but it's all a rather cold and sterile exercise.
April 18, 2012
I remember watching this when I was a young child and it wasn't especially scary but indeed memorable because until this day, I can remember the story vividly. The kind of story that keeps you enchanted for years is the kind of stories I miss these days... Never read the book but might just try and find it. Definitely one to watch!
April 1, 2012
Is anybody there?

Not exactly what I was expecting it to be but still it was pretty good.

The Story: A young girl finds she can visit a world that she's drawn out on paper. Trying to make the her fantasy world a nice place to visit, she starts adding things, but finds herself making mistakes, creating a friend that can't walk, a house with no interior, and a faceless father with a violent temper. She can't decide weather or not she wants to live in her made up world, or in the real world with her critical mother, and her absent father...It's got a great art style, and the world that's been created is simplisticly beautiful. When I sat down, I was thinking I was going to see a great, fast paced film, full of heart pounding suspense and genuine scares, but this is not that film. It takes a while to get to the really exciting stuff, and the really exciting stuff only lasts for about 15 or 20 minutes (give or take). Also, some of the characters seem really underdeveloped, you hear about her father, but you rarely see him, and you only get a small glimpse into his history and story (did I miss something? Why is he always gone? What does he do? How long has he been gone? Where is he?). He only seems to be of importance in her fantasy world...One other thing worth mentioning here, is the score, musically this film is superb. The use of electric guitar is surprisingly fitting here. The music only adds to the already brilliantly moody atmosphere.

The Cast: Charlotte Burke, Elliott Spiers...Charlotte Burke plays the part of Anna, the little girl with the endless imagination. She's responsible for the world that she's created. Responsible for all the good things, and responsible for all the bad things. She brings the story to life with great, believable acting. Elliott Spiers, plays Marc, Annas friend in her fantasy world. He can't walk or really get around on his own, so he's constantly left in the dark on his own. He's a character that you'll feel a solid connection with, due to the fact that the actor is really good. These two bring their characters to life, and pull you into the world of Paperhouse, and once you're in, you won't want out.

One to Five Scale: 4

It takes a little while to get to anything really suspensefull, and the suspense only lasts for a little while, but the overall feel of the film, and interesting characters, make it worth your attention. Go out and find a copy of this now, because if you don't you'll be forced to wander around wondering what else this life has to offer.

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