THE SLEEPING ROOM

PrintE-mail Written by John Knott

DVD REVIEW: THE SLEEPING ROOM / DIRECTOR: JOHN SHACKLETON / SCREENPLAY: ALEX CHANDON, ROSS JAMESSON, JOHN SHACKLETON / STARRING: JULIE GRAHAM, LEILA MIMMACK, JOSEPH BEATTIE, CHRISTOPHER ADAMSON, DAVID SIBLEY, CHRIS WALKER / RELEASED: OUT NOW (VOD/DOWNLOAD), MAY 11TH (DVD)

Well this one describes itself as “a psychological gothic tale of Victorian revenge” so it got itself to a good start in our books. However, it’s almost entirely set in present day Brighton so slightly disappointing on that front if you like your scares Victorian. Mind you, it’s director John Shackleton’s first feature film and was entirely financed by equity crowd-funding so we’re going to have to judge it on that basis; sumptuous period settings and crowd-funding don’t tend to be natural bedfellows.

Blue (Mimmack) is a Brighton-based call girl who goes on a professional visit to an old building that Bill (Beattie) is trying to restore. But it turns out Bill isn’t really feeling up to anything that would normally require the services of a call girl and just wants her company. There’s a mutoscope (you know, those mechanical Victorian things with a flipbook inside) with a disturbing little story in it and a secret room with a two way mirror. Turns out that some rather unpleasant things have gone on here and they’re connected to the present day.

Actually, for what it is, The Sleeping Room isn’t bad at all. There are some good performances and it works quite nicely within the obvious constraints of the budget. Even the music and cinematography are surprisingly effective. However, there are problems. The idea of an antique “snuff movie” on the mutoscope is brilliant and it really ought to be a scary moment when we get to see it. But actually, it just looks a little bit silly despite the sack-hooded villain (sacks are the industry-standard low-budget indicator of mysterious villainy) being played by the not-so-low-rent Christopher Adamson (who is actually rather good in it). In fact, one of the major problems is that while the movie’s premise should mean that it’s scary as you like, it just isn’t. Not really a scare to be had in the whole thing and it’s nowhere near as tense as it would like to believe that it is.

But for all that, it’s still engaging and reasonably entertaining. This kind of indie filmmaking is something you have to love and we have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone.

Special Features: None
 

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