An 11-year-old girl succumbs to fainting fits, is put to bed, and draws an imaginary house with an imaginary friend. Through dreams, she enters this otherworld of her own creation. Down these Elm Streets a young girl must go, you might think, but Bernard Rose's striking movie debut has more art (and heart) up its sleeve than the usual bogeyman/teenagers routine. This time the monster is the girl's estranged father, and the shocks are more to do with primary fears of a violent adult world. Matthew Jacobs' script also manages to convey atmospheric banality without dealing with naturalistic characters, while the design department succeeds in turning infantile sketches into near-apocalyptic landscapes, often to shatttering effect. Ultimately, where the film scores over the current gore market is in its return to the values of emotion and psychology within fantasy. There are production compromises (an-over inflated score, a miscast Glenne Headly); but Rose, veteran of that banned Frankie Goes To Hollywood video, directs with exhilarating assurance, and Charlotte Burke makes an excellent heroine.
Cast and crew