The Dead Sleep
The Midnight Horror Collection Vol. 3
Despite its inclusion in the ‘Midnight Horror Collection,’ The Dead Sleep isn’t really a horror movie, as it’s not really horrific. I guess it’s closer to a thriller, but then, it isn’t really thrilling either.
Paul, it turns out, has embezzled millions of dollars from his company, and his new 25-year-old boss isn’t happy about that.
It’s a few days before his birthday, and he’s planning an aquarium ‘date’ with his daughter, who I think is supposed to be 15 or so, but looks 27.
Paul’s boss, Tim (played by Joshua Close, who actually has some good credits to his name), is a baffling character. He wants the money back, which I get, but then he says he wants to ‘make an example’ of Paul, which he does by secretly killing him and dumping the body. I’m not sure how that sends a message, especially since he doesn’t get the money back first.
Tim is the villain of the piece, but is not effective in that role at all. I think they were going for sociopath, but they ended up with ‘baby-faced boy with poor planning ability.’
So, Paul’s dead, and it turns out that the life he’s re-experiencing just prior to his death is actually a dream he’s having as a ghost five years later. He eventually decides to use this dream-state to save his family.
It’s okay to have bizarre powers and phenomenon in a movie, but the more bizarre it is, the more important it becomes to establish rules and be consistent with them. Paul’s experience makes no sense, and is hard to follow. His abilities and restrictions as a ghost seem to arbitrarily pop up whenever a conflict or deus ex machina is needed.
Thus, the resolution of the film has no depth. Even though it ties together events from throughout of the movie (Sixth Sense-Like), it dose so in a tacked on way that only serves to make things less clear. They might as well have had a pack of leprechauns pop in to save the day, as that would have about as much connection to the rest of the film as the actual ending does.
The acting is bad, given Joshua Close’s involvement, I’m inclined to blame the director. Chris Armstrong, who plays Paul, never convincingly sells a line, and there are many pauses in his delivery when he’s talking to another character, like he has to stop to remember what his next line was.
The only thing I can really say I like about the movie was the ‘one-eyed girl.’ Her character is literally a deus ex machina, dropped into to give Paul clues. The film even makes a point of emphasizing that her character’s existence makes no sense (I guess we’re supposed to assume that she’s an angel, or something (Paul and his daughter talk about them earlier in the film)). But Jacintha Charles, who plays her, is pretty cute.
The movie comes in a two disc set with four movies on each disc from budget distributor Echo Bridge. Video is in anamorphic widescreen, and looks decent enough.