Director: Justin Russell
Writers: Justin Russell
Stars: Brittany Belland, Ray Goodwin, Jason Jay Crabtree
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Stars
REVIEW – Justin Russell is clearly a child of the 80′s as shown by his latest film. In the last few years, there has been a influx of directors that wanted to relive the 80′s and not make a torture porn or shaky cam film. To take what was once old, and make it sort of new again. Kudos to the indie directors who are making this happen like Justin, and not the Hollywood people whose idea of old to new is a crappy remake of one of our classics. With indie directors they are not remaking, they are recapturing the 80′s. A perfect example is the Sleeper, who proudly wears its’ influences on its sleeve and is not afraid to admit who or what influenced it. You have a little House on Sorority Row here, The Prowler there, Black Christmas, here and He knows your Alone there and etc…you get the picture. Along with all those other films, this film also carves it’s own identity in the process. Now before I praise Justin for the positives, I have to damn him for one scene in this film that was so bad, that I did not know whether to laugh or be mad… there is this disco scene, or rap music scene, I am not sure what music it was. But that scene as 1981 as it was, made me so glad we are far removed from that era. I mean some of the death scenes looked sort of a little too fake, and some scenes dragged out a little bit. But, how many 80′s films had those issues and still were classics? Unlike, House of the Devil ( the critics darling Ti West’s last film) this really felt like it was the 80′s and not some film that cared more about style and less about substance. This film cares less about style, as it so gritty, and more about substance as the script was well written and gave you enough kill scenes to keep your interest.
Jason Jay Crabtree as the Sleeper did a great job, he was so vile and vicious with the hammer, and creepy enough with the eyes and his voice on the phone that he sold the madman and made the scenes where he is after the girls even more intense, but also laid heavily into the creepy factor when he is taking pictures of them and again I have to mention this cause to me this sold him most of all… that phone voice. He even out stranged the stranger in the original When a stranger calls. And how Hollywood has not noticed Jessica Cameron is beyond me. Shame on you guys. And, in the same breath… kudos to Brittany Belland playing Amy. Like almost all horror films from both the 70′s and 80′s, you get that debut star who shines and you just know she is going to do big things. Brittany reminded me of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. It was almost like the camera and her were one, she sold her scenes and her character perfectly. I thought the script was great, the actors all did their best 80′s throwback, and the pacing of the film was near perfect. Thinking back on this film, with the very few negatives I found in this film, came a lot of positives and hope that horror and our genre is not dead yet, it is just going backwards which in this case was a good thing. This film is such a blast from the old/new past. This film is just non stop fun.
THE SLEEPER | Official Trailer: