Dreams of the Sleepwalker
“Parasomnia” is a complex independent movie from writer / director William Malone. The film is all at once a dark fairy tale, a study of extreme opposites, a heartwarming fantasy, and a tribute to the Lansing garage rock scene from Malone’s teenage years in Michigan.
Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson, “The Social Network”) is sleeping her life away in a hospital room. Danny Sloan (Dylan Purcell, “The Unknown”) falls in love with her at first sight, and finds himself at odds with Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick, “Minority Report”) – a master mentalist and serial killer with a fixation on Laura.
The examination of opposites is “Parasomnia’s” greatest strengths. Dylan learns the difference of love and caring after an unhappy life of attraction. Volpe seeks to corrupt or destroy those people unfortunate enough to get near him. Laura is innocence personified. These opposites are then turned on their ends in the movie’s climax, where Malone’s nightmarish visual style shares center stage with the more than able cast.
The film’s acting is well above standard for an independent horror film, especially from Dylan Purcell and Cherilyn Wilson. Jeffrey Combs (“House on Haunted Hill,” “The Re-Animator”) plays the surprisingly straight role of Detective Garrett.
This being a self-financed film, there are some rough edges. Scenes which depend greatly on visual effects appear slightly dated. The character of Volpe would have benefited from having a persistent and signature visual quality. Suspension of disbelief is also required at a few moments where such suspension has grown out of fashion.
The overall package, however, delivers on many levels. “Parasomnia” is intelligent yet fun, bizarre yet endearing. Horror lovers familiar with Malone’s work will be happy to know that his penchant for classical music, evil nurses and bizarre visuals are all present. If you are looking for a different kind of horror film or something scary to watch cuddled close to your sweetheart then add “Parasomnia” to your Halloween movie list.