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Theatrical Review: IN MY SLEEP

GATW Guest Writer

by: GATW Guest Writer
April 30th, 2010

In My Sleep Still

Rating: 1.5/5

Writer/Director: Allen Wolf
Cast: Philip Winchester, Lacey Chabert, Abigail Spencer, Kelly Overton, Michael Badalucco, Beth Grant, Tony Hale
Studio: Morning Star Pictures

An Abercrombie and Fitch model wakes up alone in a cemetery without any memory of how he got there. Sadly, he wakes up in strange places a lot, thanks to a bad case of parasomnia which leads to his sleepwalking and doing other things he isn't aware of. Could one of them be murder? It certainly might be when he finds that the wife of his BFF has been stabbed to death and he awoke covered in blood with a knife to go along with it. I do give writer/director Allen Wolf credit as he tries to make this feature a mystery along the lines of Hitchcock, but really, it falls much closer to an episode of Gossip Girl or Melrose Place. The actors are all pretty, and thanks to the film's lead, Philip Winchester, the ladies will have plenty eye candy since he has a tendency to get all parasomniad out in his undies.

The first fifteen minutes of the film feel jumbled together (actually, most of the film feels that way), as Marcus (Winchester) keeps waking up in a different location. But then he wakes in his own bed, covered in blood, with a knife on the floor. He hears a persistent knock on his door and realizes it is the police. Oh man, things are looking bad for our hero; this guy is really having a bad morning. But before we find what trouble may be in store, like many a good mystery, we go back to find out how it ended up here. That is when we finally meet Marcus' pals Justin and Ann (Tim Draxl and Kelly Overton). It is clear that something happens within this triangle, and to be honest, it is clear who the bad guy is from very early on.

There are several problems with IN MY SLEEP. First of which is the absolute shallowness of the characters. The performances feel much too much like a soap opera with no real sense of danger or dread. It is hard to find any semblance of darkness when the cast looks so pretty. But the fault is not really on Winchester as the confused Marcus. This is a very standard script and it would be very difficult to make it interesting. When the murder finally happens, we don't see any of it, and I didn't feel connected to it at all. All of these so-called relationships felt forced, as did the characters motivations. Especially when they get into another sub-plot involving Marcus and his extremely detached mother, Evelyn, played by Beth Grant. But just like the other mystery, there is zero suspense and/or tension thanks to a poor script and uneven pacing. There was not a single moment I didn't feel like I was watching someone's demo reel.

To make things even worse, IN MY SLEEP suffers from poorly conceived “nightmare sequences” during Marcus' sleep. The images are meant to be horrific (I assume) but they aren't really utilized very well and don't fully connect with the rest of the film. After all, this is a thriller that deals with a sex addict who sleepwalks, the nightmares seem like filler. This brings us to another oddity. This is about a sex addict, but the film is PG-13. The ladies obviously get their fill with an underwear clad Winchester, and a couple of side nude shots, but nothing more than that. When I think of thriller with sexual overtones movies like BASIC INSTINCT or FATAL ATTRACTION come to mind. Both films had prominent displays of sexuality. But this is simply hinted at and just feels as an unnecessary plot point. But in the end there is a nice amount of ambition behind IN MY SLEEP just not nearly enough to make a good film.

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