Screen Time: 80%
Role: Anna Madden
Age: 13 years old
Directed: Bernard Rose
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Fantasy
Eleven-year-old Anna (Charlotte Burke), the neglected daughter of Ben Cross and Glenne Headley, passes out on the school playground and dreams of visiting a house she'd previously drawn in her composition book. She imagines another visit to her "paper house" while playing hide-and-seek. Experimenting, Burke draws a figure in the window of the house; the next time she dreams, she meets a young boy, as lonely as she. Convinced that she wields a large degree of power in her pencil, Burke draws a picture of her father, Cross, hoping that in doing so he will return home. But Burke is dissatisfied with the picture, and crosses it out--whereupon Cross shows up in her dreams as a murderous stalker. What happens next is a maelstrom of psychological horror, told completely from the child's point of view.
Movie ReviewsPerfect in every exquisite detail
Author: star2-2 from IMDb
Paperhouse is the most moving and poignant film I've ever seen. Often classed as a "horror movie" this, I believe, is a grave error. Some journo once called it "the thinking person's Nightmare on Elm Street" and while I accept the logic of his conclusion I can't help but think it's a tag that is ill deserved and misleading. Those that can only see horror are truly missing out here and only serves to demonstrate they're really not thinking at all.
In fact, just attempting to classify this wonderful work is probably a bad idea. Quite simply, Paperhouse is perfect in every exquisite detail and will always have a special place in my heart. As someone wiser than me once said, "the film hits you on a completely emotional level", which may go some way to explaining why my comments are so unrelentingly gushing. To be honest, I make no apology for this so if you feel my words are too saccharine for your taste, stop reading now because there's more to come.
It's so rare to find a film that has at its heart the pain and heartache of childhood and the struggle to overcome the dreadful feelings of isolation and loneliness that can completely overwhelm us at this fragile time in our lives. Even more unusual to find child actors who can actually play their roles with the sensitivity and intelligence required to make it all work. In Charlotte Burke and Elliott Spiers we had an inspired piece of casting and the lasting impact of Paperhouse owes much to their ability to portray the melancholy and alienation of childhood (often overlooked) in a seamless and convincing way.
And yet both of these brilliant young stars seemed to have slipped through the grasp of the studios and have somehow faded away.
Add to all this an incredibly talented director (Bernard Rose), imaginative cinematography and the most beautiful and haunting soundtrack you're ever likely to hear and you may start to get an inkling of why I have such affection and affinity for this film that no amount of words can express.