I like it when a movie is much better than expected. Or, in the case of Parasomnia, when I think a film is something completely different than it actually turns out to be. See, I thought (based off the name) this was probably a low-budget knockoff of Paranormal Activity. Then again, any knock off of that movie would have to be considered big budget, right? So, I was pleasantly surprised that this film A. Was not a found footage movie and B. Was creepy as all get out. I’ve heard comparisons (post-watching) it’s like Nightmare on Elm Street meets The Cell meets Puppet Master. All of which are correct, I would also throw in that Parasomnia has a very distinct voice; something akin to Hellraiser in its originality.
Danny is a dude. He’s not particularly interesting or memorable, but serves the purpose adequately of being a love struck young guy who happens across a true sleeping beauty in a hospital. The sleeping beauty is a young woman who suffers from a rare, you guessed it, sleeping disorder that prevents her from doing anything besides looking really hot without clothes on (at least initially). The trouble is a super creeper patient resides next door. This guy has mind control powers that rival a Jedi and he uses them for evil.
The film starts out slow and focuses on building up the dreamscape and mythology behind the antagonist and sleeping girl. And it does so impressively. There are multiple layers of complexity that I, unfortunately, don’t have the time of energy to try and explain in this review. Not complexity like Memento where your brain hurts while watching, but depth that helps the film rise above most stuff within the horror genre.
Are there shortcomings? Sure. I found a lot of what takes place in the hospital to be highly unlikely. Like being able to kidnap a person with the same ease as ordering a cheeseburger at Wendy’s. Also, as a young single guy, I understand what it’s like to want to fall in love, but I tend to aim for women who can talk to me at an adult level and are not asleep 20 hours a day. But, just as I typed those words I realize that may not be entirely true – on both accounts. So, in that regard, I give Danny a pass for falling in love with a girl who has the mind of child and a major sleeping issue. Look at the bright side; she can’t nag you if she’s asleep.
Gorehounds will also like the film as it contains tons of blood and disgusting images. There are even several moments that caused a little jolt to my nervous system.
Finally, the end of the film is a thing of beauty. No spoilers of course, but any movie that includes a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the classic Profkofiev piece, The Montugues and Capulets, is way alright in my book.
Bottom Line: A highly stylized independent horror flick worth checking out.
Snore Factor: ZZ (It’ll keep you up, even after midnight)