Are you awake? Horror fans will see some familiar plot points here and might just get a little drowsy. However, there are some bits that do seem like happy dreams in the film’s finale.
Danny Sloan (Dylan Purcell) is a student whose girlfriend has just moved out. He is visiting his friend Billy (Dov Tiefenbach) who is in a court ordered drug rehab program. Billy suggests that Danny check out the “psycho ward” before leaving the hospital. What he finds is a sleeping beauty in the form of Laura (Cherilyn Wilson).
She’s under the care of Dr. Corso (Timothy Bottoms) as she is in a constant dream state and only awakens occasionally. It’s love at first sight for Danny and he starts sitting vigil by her bedside. Her neighbor in the room next door has a thing for Laura as well. That’s not so good because it houses Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick), a rare books dealer and mesmerist who turned serial killer through his hypnotic ability.
When Danny learns that Laura is to be transferred to a shady sleep clinic he decides to steal her away. However, her somnambulism turns out to be a stumbling block in a relationship (well… for some things). Volpe’s hold on Laura is something that knows no bounds and soon bodies are starting to pile up once more.
Parasomnia isn’t exactly a snoozer [insert rimshot here]. However, it’s more like a recurring dream as you’ve seen some of the plot before. We’re also not talking about solid sleep science since parasomnia really refers to a group of sleep disorders, such as night terrors (maybe a better title for the picture) or sleepwalking, and not a single one that causes you to sleep continually, but you shouldn’t be going to horror movies for your scientific information.
If you’re a lonely college student the best thing to do is the kidnap a person afflicted with a sleeping sickness, never mind that she will be taken from a medical environment to your dingy apartment. Also in the few times the gal is awake she talks like Nell (that Jodie Foster movie), basically acts like a child, and then at the most inopportune moments dozes off again.
When the killings start you’d imagine that the kid should’ve just hit on a girl in one of his art classes and done without this bloody drama. Oh well, love is strange in sleeping beauty land. Jeffrey Combs bring his genre cred and performs well. Patrick Kilpatrick also does what he can with the Hannibal Lector bit, but he is held in some medieval apparatus that I doubt state agencies would approve of.
The last half hour features a clockwork Victorian nightmare that dazzles, but those tired plot contrivances are a little bit of a slog to get though to get to that set piece.
Parasomnia is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include a commentary by director William Malone, a 14 minute “making of,” 52 minutes of interviews with the cast and crew, 12 minutes of deleted scenes, a still gallery, a 2 minute music video, and the 2 minute theatrical trailer.
Parasomnia has some interesting bits (mesmerist bookdealer of a serial killer, clockwork closer) but much of what happens before them is contrived and predictable. However, it will entertain if you’re willing to give it a chance.
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