Paperhouse (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Paperhouse (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Paperhouse Photos

Movie Info

Eleven-year-old 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. Paperhouse is based on Marianne Dreams a novel by Catherine Storr.

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Charlotte Burke
as Anna Madden
Glenne Headly
as Kate Madden
Ben Cross
as Dad Madden
Gemma Jones
as Dr. Sarah Nicols
Jane Bertish
as Miss Vanstone
Gary Bleasdale
as Policeman
Barbara Keogh
as Hotel Receptionist
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Critic Reviews for Paperhouse

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

It is a thoughtfully written, meticulously directed fantasy in which the actors play their roles with great seriousness. Watching it, I was engrossed in the development of the story and found myself accepting the film's logic on its own terms.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

[An] underrated dark horror flick...

August 27, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The scenes of Anna running around mountains in a moment of escape or toward an enormous lighthouse don't have the feel of something whitewashed like The Sound of Music but rather the dark undercurrent of the delusions of the girls in Heavenly Creatures.

February 28, 2012 | Full Review…

A mesmerizing English film exploring the dreamscapes of a lonely eleven-year old girl.

August 28, 2004 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A real sleeper: charming, scary, enthralling

August 26, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

More peculiar than actually good.

November 26, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Paperhouse

A drawing that became a dream. A dream that became reality. I think there is a tiny bit of a message hidden in a movie. It is a Unique Movie, unlike the movie House of Cards I enjoyed this a tiny bit more.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer


This was hugely distrubing to a ten year old boy when I watched it. Extremely odd little story but one that has stuck with me until now.

Barry Lappin
Barry Lappin

Super Reviewer


An eerie dreamscape of a movie. A girl draws pictures of a house on paper, and it becomes a place she can visit. Soon she is drawing other things which she can interact with. It's dark rather than fanciful. An experience.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

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