While watching Sleep No More, I couldn’t help but think of the Creepypasta ‘The Russian Sleep Experiment’. Mainly because of the initial premise. Directed by Phillip Guzman, Sleep No More stars Keli Price, Lukas Gage, Yasmine Aker, Grant, Stephen Ellis and Christine Dwyer.
It sees five students agree to conduct an experiment regarding sleep. The theory is that if they reach 200 hours without it, they will reach a lucidity stage. Meaning they will never sleep again. Knowing that they won’t get approval, especially after an earlier attempt had disastrous results, they secret themselves away and set about trying to stay awake.
At first, tiredness and boredom is the only thing the group have to contend with but as they get further into the experiment, problems begin to arise. Each one begins to have strange experiences and visions. Some begin to believe that they are being attacked by an unseen force that stays hidden because we sleep.
As the violence begins to ramp up, sleep is no longer at the forefront of the group’s mind. Now it’s only about survival.
There are positives and there are negatives about Sleep No More. The plot is interesting and it plays out exactly as you might expect. There are few surprises here with only the real disappointment coming from the lack of a big payoff. Sleep No More is an investment so to not get a really spectacular finale does leave a bad taste in the mouth.
You’re left hoping for something a little deeper then ‘monsters’ but ultimately that is what we get. Why, the sleep deprivation side of things wasn’t used to its fullness is head-scratching as that’s where the real scares come.
At times it’s boring but that’s more because of the characters that lack definition. Now the acting is decent but the lack of deep and meaningful character moments makes it all feel a bit flat. A pity as when tested, a few of these actors do shine briefly.
Being set in the 80’s, Sleep No More uses the setting well. It feels like a film of that time, even with the sharper cinematography, thanks to time-period music, equipment and props. It allows you to invest in what you’re seeing even if some of the hokey effects threaten to take you out of it. Their not great which is a shame as the practical gore effects are very convincing.
As far as 2018 low-budget horrors go, Sleep No More certainly stands out as one of the more polished efforts. With a better story, a much better payoff and better characters we could have had a modern great on our hands. Sadly, Sleep No More will be quickly forgotten.
Sleep No More
The Final Score - 6/10