Paperhouse (1988) - Drama, Fantasy

Hohum Score



A young girl lost in the loneliness and boredom of reality finds solace in an ill boy, whom she can visit in a surreal dream world that she drew in her school composition book.

IMDB: 6.7
Director: Bernard Rose
Stars: Charlotte Burke, Jane Bertish
Length: 92 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 20 out of 66 found boring (30.3%)

One-line Reviews (54)

Through this we are treated to many touching moments and some immensely scary ones, all visually stunning with a grand score from Hans Zimmer.

While the character of Anna might appeal to pre-teens, some scenes (in particular the one when the father tries to break into the house with a hammer) are far to intense for young children.

Take the scene where the girl rushes out to get her picture, mum shouting at her as she chases her down the stairs, she is right next to her shouting, long overly drawn out cries to stop with a slight pointless echo.

mundane dream film .

The duel between Anna's two realities drags on far too long to sustain interest, especially considering that the little girl playing her is the most abrasive child actor I've ever seen.

There are some genuinely (and I don't say that lightly) disturbing moments in this film, both half-second shockers and more drawn-out tensions.

I wished they had took a darker turn creating a far more powerful finale that would have proved to be all the more unnerving and truly riveting in retrospect.

Older kids may enjoy the film, but for discriminating adults what might have been a fascinating psychological fantasy is instead little more than another Twilight Zone retread.

(By this time I was hoping it would be Marc, because he's a boring little scrote whereas Anna is quite cute once you get past her bitchiness and 1980s hair).

I don't know why she never went onto do anything else, but either way she's really convincing and enjoyable to watch.

The idea of a girl manipulating a dream world with her drawings (thusly the dream world manipulating reality), and also connecting with and affecting the life of a boy she's never actually met, is fascinating and never disappoints.

She enters a dream world where she meets Marc (a languid Elliott Spiers, who looks like someone who's about to die in the next 6 years, which he actually did) and discovers that her actions in the real world affect events in his.

While I am sure that the film works for some as an allegory for all sorts of themes—growing up, loss of innocence, coping with grief, yadda, yadda, yadda—the fact is that Paperhouse is dreary, slow and, contrary to what many have written here on IMDb, poorly acted (the cast perform their lines as though they are reading from an auto-cue).

Summary: a yawner that offers an unlikeable lead character and generally poor acting.

I don't know, but either way it's quite fascinating.

This film is an excellent example of the triumph of content & style over empty-headed flashing lights & constant loud noises.

Even in the dream world things are boring.

I'm sorry to say that Paperhouse is more on a par with Snuff Movie in terms of overall quality, being the pretentious kind of drivel that often gets labelled as 'dark fairy-tale fantasy' or 'surreal visual poetry', when the words 'boring' and 'confusing' would be far more apt and to the point.

The direction is uninspired and I wished it could even be pretentious...

but Yawn.

Casting exasperated the dreary dialogue which resulted in relationships lacking warmth, chemistry or conviction.

A small but evocative film .

" Well, if they think about it, I'm sure they will come to the same conclusion I did - a waste of money at the video rental store.

More fantasy than horror but definitely evocative and haunting.

In the end, "Paperhouse" is plodding on a bit and from today's perspective some scenes seem dragged out.

Absorbing tale, visually stunning and brilliant .

While this movie is pretty unique it is also very, very boring.

Very predictable, very 80's and very British .

London resident Anna is a preteen girl with a very boring life.

This is turgid, pointless and has succeeded in tainting my great memories of Escape Into Night.

It was what I would call a coming of age film, in which a little girl who "hates boys" falls in love.

Let me say from the start that this really is an imaginative, surreal & sometimes engaging story.

Very tepid and uneventful screenplay with a dull lead cast that is somehow saved by the visually breathtaking cinematography .

Paperhouse enjoys playing games with the viewers mind, engrossing you with it's very own sense of reasoning.

Bored, she draws the boy inside a house – a picture that, try as she might, she cannot erase.

In conclusion then, if you like lots of loud noises, explosions, constant cuts, & bright flashing colours you'd be better off watching 'Transformers', but if you like a suspenseful story which unfolds through a skillful & evocative use of narrative without insulting your intelligence by force feeding you cacophonous nonsense then this might just be your thing.

It only can be called a horror movie in that it has frightening scenes but is a fantasy (with a little hint of "coming of age" only because Ana is a pre-teen who "hates boys").

Paperhouse is a breathtaking, suspenseful and depressing story, with a boring little girl in a boring world who discovers a talent that gives her a greater purpose in life, the power to connect with the souls of dying people and help them.

"Paper house " can be psychologically very intense at times and touching at other moments.

Paperhouse presents an intensely entertaining fantasy/horror story of a young school girl ,Ana, enduring an illness, and experiencing a compelling fantasy that occurs when she is in the throes of the fevers brought on by her malady.

In conclusion my generous 3/10 will hopefully stop at least one of you from watching this drab!

Music video director Bernard Rose creates a surreal atmosphere which is certainly intriguing; however, the combination of Rose's languid pacing and his fussy attention to detail derails the suspense inherent in the scenario (it just seems as if the filmmaker is dawdling).

I saw paperhouse the first time when I was about 15, 16, and I have to admit I enjoyed it a lot more back then than I did when I watched it again recently.

I have not read Catherine Storr's book Marianne Dreams, but all the preamble at the school and Anna arguing with her mother is a waste of time.

Paperhouse is poorly acted, laughably plotted, very corny and dull on the whole.

Rose creates a rich tapestry of moody ambiance that creates a thrilling backdrop for the brilliant story and great actors to play with.

That said, I'm going against the grain here and say I was bored to death.

There is something unnerving in the scenes when Anna is exploring the empty house that is difficult to put your finger on.

The film moves quickly and maintains an intense sense of adventure, and even some level of horror, that erupts every time Ana lapses into her dreams.

The central plot is hardly played with at all, and the result is an entirely boring experience.

Content & Style: 1; Brash Loud Banality: Nil .

Starting out bratish and borderline annoying, the character quickly pulls us on side as her confusion gives way to a grasp of the situation; that in turn makes her resourceful and brave, thus fully involving the audience.

Ironically, "Papierhaus" is a movie I'd never heard of until now, yet it must be one of the best movies of the late 80s - partly because that is hands down the worst movie period in recent decades.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.