Saturday, September 12, 2020

Movie Reviews: Sleepwalkers

directed by Mick Garris
This older (1992) film was written specifically for the big screen by author Stephen King, who also appears in a brief funny cameo. Sleepwalkers is not based on any of King's pre-existing books. 

This is a solid B-movie that appears to be deliberately designed to gross people out. It doesn't have any King trademarked hidden messages on tolerance, subtle paeans to childhood, or bittersweet reminiscing about the One True Love who got away all those years ago. 

So you probably shouldn't watch this movie expecting anything like that. In fact if you are sensitive to depictions of violence or perverse sexuality then you probably shouldn't watch this film. Those things don't bother me that much so I decided to rewatch this film.

This film comes across as something that could have been adapted from a "Weird Tales" story or comic, which I am guessing probably was both King's and Garris' intent. This is not a movie that requires a long analysis, description or plot detail. The characters are also, well calling them flat,  sounds accusatory. 

Let's just say that there's not too much deep introspection or emoting required or offered, with one possible exception. But really, do people really watch these sorts of horror movies for acting worthy of Shakespearean theater? Probably not, though the lead actress Alice Krige is indeed a classically trained stage actress. Basically what I am saying is that this film is the very incarnation of a low budget cheap thrills adventure with some sicko stuff mixed in for good measure.

Don't look for anything more than that.

Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary Brady (Alice Krige) have just arrived in a small Indiana town and claim to be from Ohio. We know that they're actually fleeing from a California town. Charles seems to be high school aged while Mary looks to be in her late thirties/early forties. 

And oh by the way they have a THANG going on. Both switch seamlessly from normal mother-son affection to extended and for the times explicit "Let's do it in the road all night long!" interactions. Charles is a real, pardon the pun, muyerfuyer. But this might be normal for Charles and Mary as they aren't human.

No the Brady dynamic duo are sleepwalkers, which as the film explains, are monstrous magical feline-human mixes which live off the life source of virginal human females. Sleepwalkers may be the original source of vampire or witch myths. Although humans can't see thru their disguise or illusions, cats have no problem doing so. 

Sleepwalkers and cats HATE each other and will attack and kill each other every chance they get. Being male and appearing young, Charles is the primary hunter of the pair, as it's easier for him to get close to virginal females without arising undue suspicion. The latest target is Charles' classmate Tanya Robertson (Madchen Amick) a high school student who is gently teased by her friends for her lack of (ahem) "experience" with boys. 

Well the hunt is on.

The special effects are not so great. Krige was the most acclaimed actor to appear in this film. She gave her character more depth than it probably deserved. Elfin, perverse, evil and even sympathetic once or twice, Krige rose above the rubber suits and occasionally cheesy dialogue. This wasn't King's best work but I don't think it was meant to be anything more than it was. Many events and premises in this movie make no sense. Ron Perlman has a blink and you'll miss it appearance.
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