“Most my nightmares involve me forgetting my lines for a stage play” – Robert Englund
Horror, for me, has to involve some sort of fantasy. Horror is something that is in your dreams or your nightmares – Cassandra Peterson
Slumber is the latest horror movie to explore the demons that come as we sleep. “Alice Arnold” (Maggie Q – Balls of Fury) is a physician whose specialty is sleep disorders. She’s happily married to “Tom” (Will Kemp – The Midnight Man) and they have a precocious young daughter, Niamh (Sophia Wiseman). The movie opens when Alice is a child and her brother dies while sleepwalking. Thus, her interest in helping people with problems sleeping.
A family of four comes to see her at the sleep clinic. “Daniel” (Lucas Bond) is the young son who suffers from a severe case of sleep paralysis. It is impacting his parents, “Charlie Morgan” (Sam Troughton – AVP: Alien vs Predator) and “Sarah Morgan” (Kristen Bush – Liberal Arts) as well as his sister “Emily” (Honor Kneafsey). She has the family spend the night at the sleep clinic to run tests on Daniel. She is attacked by Charlie, who tries to strangle her. So the assumption is made that it was Charlie who is responsible for unexplained events, but this theory is quickly disproven when there are more incidents at the Morgan home while Charlie is behind bars.
But Charlie’s assault of Alice reveals a clue about the origins of the nightmares suffered by Daniel’s family members. “Cam” (Vincent Andriano) is a hospital orderly who rescues Alice from Charlie. He also gives her a cryptic warning about staying as far away from Daniel as possible. When he won’t elaborate, she goes to visit him at home and meets “Amado” (Sylvester McCoy – television’s “Doctor Who” from 1987-1989). He is a survivor of the demon that is trying to kill Daniel. Known as the Sleep Hag, it distracts those trying to protect its young targets by bringing their own nightmares to life in their minds. Amado’s survival came at a heavy cost and as he describes “Nocnitsa” it is not so much a murderer but instead a stealer of the life force within its victims.
Some of the people who make horror movies rely on excessive gore in order to drive their films forward. That’s not the case here. Some may find the use of paintings to be a bit excessive, but given the movie’s run time of only 84 minutes, they serve their purpose.
Sylvester McCoy is the major problem with the film’s third act, as calling his work “way over the top” would be a substantial understatement. The rest of the cast does their best, but this is a retread of a retread of a somewhat tired story. Perhaps it seemed to make more sense on the story board but in the end, Slumber just doesn’t cut the mustard.