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Mister Sleep

Revitalizing the classic slasher, “Mister Sleep” does a great deal right and offers the promise of developing into a terrifying franchise.

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Written and directed by Amy Bailey and Rob Hollock, Mister Sleep marks their third feature film working together.

The film centers around a disturbing killer who has been sent to death row, with him finally getting his comeuppance for his horrific crimes. But this is a slasher, so naturally, he rises from the grave with his eyes set on revenge. Dressed in a creepy mask design similar to the scarecrow in Batman Begins, he will send chills down your spine. We never get to see his face, which adds more to the mystery of who this sicko is.

We meet our protagonist, Felicia Payne (played by Claire Marie Lubeck), who is participating in an online insomnia trial with a small group of people seeking help. Felicia also suffers from agoraphobia, having not left the house in two years.

Although this seems to consume Felicia’s life, we find a love story within this horror, introducing Glenn Howard (played by Alec James), an old high school friend who visits her daily, bringing food and drinks for a chance to talk to her.

I loved this side plot as it’s slowly played out, and you’ll find yourself rooting for the couple.

Felicia’s doctor (Kate Dailey) delivers a very strong performance, probably my favorite throughout the film. With her twisted relationship with Mister Sleep —  she uses him as a subject for her unethical methods to cure insomnia — she seems to be at the center of what drives Mister Sleep to wreak chaos on her patients.

With creative kills full of gore, I wish we had seen more.

One of the kills reminded me of the first Hellraiser, and I had hoped we’d continue with this level of violence. However, it starts to slow down, and we get more off-camera kills. That was disappointing as the film’s concept was so strong right out of the gate.

Unfortunately, the story needed to be developed more. Too much was hidden offscreen, including all the nasty stuff that you really want to see.

Still, Mister Sleep does well in building moments of tension between the characters and the unknowing victims being stalked. By the time we get to our killer climax, our final girl is forced to conquer fear and push herself to limits she never thought she would have to. Survival instincts kick in, and she reaches a point where her sadness turns into rage.

Happily, the finale is intense, gripping, and blood-soaked.

The film’s last fifteen minutes take viewers on a wild ride, and I was on the edge of my seat during these climactic scenes.

Even the closing credits are worth sticking around for.

Mister Sleep‘s attempts at revitalizing retro-style slashers are admirable, but there remains room for improvement.

Progressing with a sequel would give the franchise time to grow and learn. I loved the slow reveal of the characters’ connections to the story and the outright grotesqueness of some kills.

This horror villain has a long way to go before joining the greats, but I remain hopeful because getting some fresh blood in the horror world is always fun.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4

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