Paperhouse (1988)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  17 February 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 4,119 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 27 critic

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.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Paperhouse (1988)

Paperhouse (1988) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Complete credited cast:
Charlotte Burke ...
Jane Bertish ...
Miss Vanstone
Samantha Cahill ...
Kate Madden
Sarah Newbold ...
Karen (Anna's school friend)
Gary Bleasdale ...
Elliott Spiers ...
Dr. Sarah Nicols
Dad Madden
Karen Gledhill ...
Barbara Keogh ...
Hotel receptionist


Anna is becoming lost in the loneliness of her own world when she discovers she can visit another, a house she has drawn herself and occupied by a young disabled boy. But as she discovers more of the links between her fantasy world and the mundane present, she is drawn only deeper into a dream turning into a nightmare. Written by David Carroll <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A drawing that became a dream. A dream that became reality. See more »


Drama | Fantasy


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 February 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Paperhouse - Alpträume werden wahr  »

Box Office


$241,278 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Elliott Spiers, who played the role of Marc, unfortunately died shortly after the production of Paperhouse. Paperhouse and another film he starred in, Taxandria (1989), were dedicated to his memory. See more »


When Anna is lying in bed, the boom mic visible in top center of screen. See more »


Dad Madden: Alright, if you want to play games. 1... 2... 3...
See more »


Referenced in Animaniacs: Video Review/When Mice Ruled the Earth (1993) See more »


Music by Gabriel Fauré (as Faure)
Performed by Choristers of Westminster Cathedral
Published by Editions Harnelle
Arranged by Stanley Myers (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic psychological drama.
25 June 2001 | by (Aber, Wales) – See all my reviews

A great film this, and a shame that it will receive little attention outside of arthouse circles and students who stay up until two in the morning to watch it on Channel Four.

The plot is a simple one but works very effectively, the blurring between child-like fantasy and hard-hitting nightmare is very well blurred. The budget looks pretty low, but to the credit of those involved it doesn't show too often. It also hasn't dated that much either.

I was lucky enough to tape this off the telly when it was on a few years ago, and it has withstood half-a-dozen viewings. It's one of those films that won't appeal to all; though as usual, those with a more thoughtful approach to cinema would get a lot out of this.

Charlotte Buerke puts in a good performance as Anna, the spoilt brat and it is a shame she seems to have gone from the acting scene. Cross is also very good, carrying the stature of his character very well within the context of the picture.

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. Watch it with the lights out!

Highly recommended.


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