Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Jason Yu.
Starring Jung Yu-mi, Lee Sun-kyun.
Horror, Korea, 95 minutes.


Reviewed as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2024


The restful act of sleeping at night has become an often-memorable battleground against evil spirits who seem intent on destroying their victim’s body and/or soul. Whether it was the mysterious demon from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or Freddy Krueger with his nifty line in glove wear the threat has been out there for quite some time now, waiting for its moment to strike when all we want is a good night’s kip.


South Korean director Jason Yu makes his debut here with SLEEP, a film that looks at a married couple struggling with sinister night-time activities. When the heavily pregnant Soo-jin wakes up one night to find her husband Hyeon-soo sitting at the foot of the bed, she is already a little put out but when he suddenly exclaims that “Someone’s inside” Soo-jin begins to suspect that her husband may be suffering a little more than stress which seems to be affecting his sleep patterns. Constant itching leads to face gouging scratches and stomach-turning feasts at the fridge where anything is game for a snack. As their day to day lives buckle under the strain, they take steps to solve the problem, but it seems that something more than sound medical advice is needed as more horrific events start to occur more frequently.


SLEEP is a film that seems to fall between two genres, horror and comedy, but it’s too timid nature in both regards ensures that it succeeds at neither. A lack of atmosphere and style gives the film a flatness from which it fails to rise above while an all too apparent lack of dread and fear marks it further downwards. While it leans more to the horror end of the scale there are definite attempts at humour that fail to raise much more of a reaction.


Also apparent is paper thin script that plods through its plot such as it is. When mention is made of one character it feels immediately apparent that the surprise has already been given away while the use of a power point presentation to explain everything that has come before comes across as clumsy in the extreme.


The cast do well enough with the bland direction and uninspired script. It may gain more attention over here now in the wake of the recent tragic suicide of lead actor Lee Sun-kyun, whose global reputation rose after his excellent performance in PARASITE. That film's director Bong Joon-ho has highly praised this as a unique and smart work so it may be that I am totally missing something here, but what that is, I could not tell you.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans