DON’T SLEEP (director/writer: Rick Bieber; cinematographer: Ian Fox; editor: Shilpa Shai; music: Andy Mendelson; cast: Dominic Sherwood (Zach Bradford), Dash Williams (Young Zach), Drea de Matteo (Jo Marino), Cary Elwes (Dr. Richard Sommers), Alex Carter (Mr. Marino) Jill Hennessy (Cindy Bradford), Charlbi Dean Kriek (Shawn Edmon); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Rick Bieber; MINDS i Cinema; 2017)
“An awkward horror pic.“ Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz An inane, poorly- plotted and poorly-acted supernatural horror pic about a young married couple, Shawn (Charlbi Dean Kriek) and the law student Zach (Dominic Sherwood), who move into the cottage guesthouse on the estate of the Marinos (Drea de Matteo & Alex Carter), and memories of a childhood demonic possession start to haunt him like when he was a kid. It’s an awkward horror pic poorly-written and directed by Rick Bieber (“Rehab”/”Crazy”), that never gets to all the pertinent questions it asks about mental illness, possession and finding one’s way through troubling dreams. The film opens with a Nietzsche quote about identifying with the darker aspects of your personality, but never gets back to following that up in its story. The next scene. has the anti-hero, Zach (Dash Williams), as a child, having a bad dream and then treated by the shrink Dr. Sommers (Cary Elwes). When the nightmarish attacks begin again as an adult, the besieged Zach receives help again from his former therapist Dr. Sommers. But things worsen as he starts seeing ghosts and people around him and they are inexplicably slaughtered. Things worsen further when Zach’s father (Rocco-in his last film) commits suicide. After that Zach experiences terrible nightmares that result in questioning his sanity and wondering if he’s demonically possessed. Nothing comes together that isn’t weird, unpleasant and far-fetched (like that Crusades-era tragic story of a knight, who once dwelled in his home, becoming a crazed monster after returning home to learn of his wife’s rape). It leaves us disturbed, to no avail, becoming a movie that could use a complete overhaul. It would be better served if Bieber was more lucid, there wasn’t such a daft twist ending and it had a better grip on conveying the heavy subjects it tackles.
REVIEWED ON 2/15/2018 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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