A movie review by Robert Long II ©2013
Starring: Taylor Nicole Adams, Bob Dennis, Steve Diasparra, Ashley Galloway, Ken VanSant
Written and directed by Brett Piper
I have been told that this is based off an H.P. Lovecraft story. Forgive me, but I am not familiar with much of his work, so I will take the filmmaker’s word for it.
So here’s the story. Aspiring novelist Nancy Peterson (Ashley Galloway) has a new house – scott free – from her realtor ex-husband (just to get her off his back). The only stipulation in the deed is that no one can paint over the pentagram that is on the basement wall. Although this is strange, Nancy doesn’t think anything of it and signs on the dotted line. That is, until really odd things start to happen to her at night when she goes to bed. Nancy starts having these incredible nightmares in the otherworld, and her sister (Taylor Nicole Adams) comes to stay and take care of her. A college professor (Ken VanSant) is called in to check out the pentagram and the strange goings-on… and from that point on the movie dives into dark surreal insanity. What is real and unreal – who is friend or foe? The lines are blurred.
The first thing that became apparent to me is that the character of Nancy Peterson is pretty much written as a bitch. As this is the person that the audience will be called upon to identify and side with, this is not a good thing. It is hard to find much sympathy in her plight when she starts off hard nosed, irritable and sarcastic straight out of the chute. The other characters are better flushed out; the ex-husband, the sister, and the teacher. Some are heros, some are villains, but all end up being pretty interesting.
The acting was top notch all around, and the two male leads were in Piper’s previous movie MUCKMAN. The camera, lighting and audio work are professional and competent. The location is superb with nice little touches to make the dream house not all that it seems to be. Outside of the main character being written a bit too hard (her demeanor does soften a little towards the end) the story is solid and interesting.
Brett Piper’s effects are the real reason to tune into this movie, and here he does not disappoint. Stop motion monsters and tripod robots, barren landscapes, and foreboding castles inhabit the dream world. In my opinion these effects come off better than those in Phillip Cooke’s DESPISER. I attribute this in the fact that Piper does things old school – meaning models and stop motion rather than with CGI. The effect comes across with more meat and depth to them, where as CGI – unless done very carefully – can come off flat and a bit like watching a video arcade game. Piper’s work here gives the film great atmosphere. The stop motion monsters come off quite creepy.
The disk I got was a screener disk, so I do not know if there are any extras. I can say from past movies that I really enjoy the commentaries that Brett does, and I hope this one has it as well. If this were rated it would probably get a PG rating. The last couple of movies Piper has done has been a little more light weight (no gore or nudity) and I kind of hope he goes back into the R rated area. When doing genre monster movies stuff, it doesn’t hurt to have those elements in there. I am looking forward to the next movie he is working on, which involves a giant crab.
So when all is said and done I do recommend THE DARK SLEEP. It is not as sexy as DRAINIAC or BACTERIUM and it is not as fun as MUCKMAN, but Brett Piper still delivers on the story and the effects so it is worth that alone.
Rating: 7 out of 10 nightmares. I will post a link once the movie becomes available.