It was a T.G.I. Friday moment while I was looking at my choices. It was my off day so it was merely a matter of which movie to watch and not ending up having wasted some hundred minutes of my life. I decided to go with William Malone's Parasomnia because:
1) No matter what everyone says, I like FeardotCom (more so than the futile remake "The Pulse", the original of which -Kairo- is said to be a huge inspiration for FeardotCom).
2) No matter what everyone thinks, I like Hills Have Eyes (with its Marilyn Manson cover of Sweet Dreams)
So, although I'd planned to watch another flick, I poured myself a cup of tea, leaned back comfortably and let the impressive opening credits flow (needless to talk about the opening scene which resembles a little too much to the beginning of The Grudge and includes a long forgotten Sean Young). The movie plays a little J. J. Abrams on the viewer with the scattered flashes forward and then flashbacks to create its background story and focus on its characters.
Danny (Dylan Purcell) is an art student who works at a record store and has a best friend, Billy, who spends his free time at the drug wards of an asylum. This Billy character is portrayed through horrible acting. If he is overdosing something, that's the F word and nothing more. A pity since he has an important role in the story as the guy who lets the protagonist know about the villain at first place and basically the one who "fills in the blanks" throughout the film. Danny, while visiting his friend at the hospital, comes across Laura (Cherilyn Wilson); a girl suffering from parasomnia (the Sleeping Beauty syndrome as they metaphorically call it) and is waiting for his man in shining Armani to give her a wake up call. She rarely wakes up (according to the informative doctor at the beginning but wakes up so much throughout the movie that you wonder where he got his degree from) and when she does, it is for an unpredictable period. There's also a psychopath Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick) who is also a master of hypnosis and claims Laura to be his.
Some stuff later, Danny kidnaps an asleep Laura and takes her home. Then, the movie evolves around a love triangle between a girl who sleeps her life away, a locked up Hannibal Lecter wannabe who looks like a sack-wearing Jason in Friday the 13th Part II and a cupid stricken boy who doesn't give up on his love although his love has a habit of making an annoying "tick tick tick" noise before she tries to kill him. Yea love is like that.
Note that, dear reader, I neither want to be funny nor do I want to make fun of Parasomnia
. You can come out with something like "there's this guy, wearing all black, can dodge bullets in slow motion and connect the real world by phone" but that doesn't take anything from the awesomeness of The Matrix
. Artistically, this movie is quite beautiful with its dream sequences and (H.R.) Giger meets (Odd) Nerdrum designs. However, the actual inspiration is Zdzislaw Beksinksi
, a Polish painter and fantasy artist. Malone holds the rights to his work and uses surreal imagery from his work to create his dream realm (check out some of Beksinski's work here
). The eerie moving eerie creatures and the turning mirrors blend together to depict a disturbing world where Laura is trapped in when she's asleep.
What I don't like about Parasomnia are the slow transition between scenes which keeps decelerating the pace and a really unimpressive villain who is indecisive as to whom he will channel, Hannibal Lecter, Freddy Krueger or Pinhead? He starts off as the former and continues as the latter and says something like "This isn't over yet" towards the end which makes me wonder if he'll come back as Krueger. His quoting literature and the like... Nah, it just doesn't work. By slow transition, I mean the scenes feel as if they just don't merge into one another. Parasomnia could have been a fast, fascinating movie but the fact that plot slows down with one scene and then builds up before slowing down with the next scene and so forth makes the viewer as if they are on a bumpy ride.
The chemistry between Purcell and Wilson is just enough to make their relationship believable and their final scene together is quite refined. They are both young and good looking people whose characters are in a somewhat Utopian relationship. This relationship develops rather quickly yet there's a quick explanation to that for those who always want some reasoning on their plate.
If you played Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh
is like the live action sequences of this game running continuously. It is dream-like and can be pioneer in creating something like romantic horror
as a genre. However, it fails to compete with the grandeur of The Cell
(which is a similar, almost parent, movie dealing with the subconscious but, with due respect, is more breathtaking and captivating). Still, my hats off to the visual aspect of Parasomnia and I should admit that it is a welcoming change in the world of stereotypical, formulaic horror.
Well, we all need change now and then...