|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||25 reviews in total|
The Sleeper is an homage to those slasher films of the 1980s. I attended a screening of the film at the Grandview Theater in Columbus, OH a couple nights ago and a large crowd had showed up for the Ohio film makers who shot this thing in Springfield, OH. Set in 1981, the film follows a sorority house whose pretty young members and telephoned, stalked and killed by a maniac who likes to sit in the basement, drawing things on their photographs and muttering incoherently to himself. He calls up the house from time to time to let those on the other end who is next victim will be. For a very low budget movie ( the campus is virtually deserted and there are few extras in the film), this came out pretty well. The acting is not cringe worthy and The Sleeper's kills are pretty effective and gruesome in some cases. Full of all the clichés and lapses in character logic that the 80s slashers were infamous for....right up to the not-so-shocking final scene, which makes no sense plot wise, but is tacked on because that is what's expected from these films. During the Q&A after the film, the director said there was distribution deal at the moment, but hopefully some DVD label will pick this up.
"The Sleeper" is a faux lost '80s slasher that wants to have an old
school vibe. Unfortunately, the gimmick doesn't work. If the filmmakers
wanted this to look like a horror movie from 1981, why not shoot on
stock available at the time? The digital aspect is too polished and,
aside from the opening credits, only adds to the sad fact that nothing
looks like it's from the 1980s.
However, this movie will always be remembered for one reason. There's a disco/rap line dance that's so excruciating you'll have to see it to believe it. This scene is worse than the party fiascos in "The Howling: New Moon Rising" and "Birdemic: Shock and Terror." In the end, this movie will stay in the public conscious, but for all the wrong reasons.
The Sleeper is one of the WORST movies I've ever seen! Everything about is horrible ...... lame acting, bad script, non-existent explanations. It's almost as if some child wrote the script and directed the movie! Even if it was a low budget movie, it's no excuse for it to be so awful. A lot of girls and boys die, but no one in the community even discovers any of the bodies even if some of them are in public places. There's not even a single bit of info on the killer's past or why he kills. There is no redeeming feature in the movie at all. If you watch it till the end, you might even feel like throwing rotten tomatoes or rotten eggs at the screen! Giving even 1/10 is an act of mercy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Sleeper wanted to strongly look and feel like an early 80's film
and in my view failed to achieve this for the reasons below:
The opening shot/credit scene was actually well done and had some added visual noise effects and this in turn DID give the film the look and feel of something I would have seen on VHS back in those early days of the 80's. However, after the main credits are over it changes and not for the better. One reviewer summed it up in saying the film quality looks too "polished". It clearly was shot on some sort of digital film and no further noise or "grindhouse" look was added. In turn what this did is present the film in the era and style that this strongly gives the impression ofan early 1990s indie feature. Everything from the shot setups and angles to the acting screamed of 1990s indie. This is not entirely a bad thing mind you, but clearly a long shot from the 80's feel this wanted to be. In fact had the opening cue card read "1991" instead of "1981" it would have worked better.
The director/writers also blatantly have a strong love for the 1970's film Black Christmas (as do I), as many similar shots, scenery and score music are almost copied from that film
In the end I cannot say this is the worst thing I have seen, but definitely far from the best and far from what I was hoping it would be. The film is screaming for a fan edit as some of the subtle changes that you could do would fix the film immensely (such as never showing the killer's face, it would have been much better had his face been hiding in the shadows or even wearing a mask), etc and so on.
I think what is actually working for the film is the nice DVD and VHS combo package they offer. The cover art is great and just for that fact alone might be worth the purchase for those VHS collectors still out there
UPDATE::::A short time back I had written a review for this film (which you just read above). I also bought the DVD/VHS combo box for it. At that time I had not watched the VHS version and I just want to say now I wish I did.
Most of the issues aside from the script and such revolved around the film looking too polished and clean. It was obvious that going by the DVD/VHS combo box art work as well as the opening credits for the film that they wanted the viewer to have that "old film on VHS look". This is where that tape comes in. The VHS tape version that comes with this is BEAUITFULLY rendered and amazingly emulates an old VHS tape. This is not grindhouse type of effects, but rather actual old analog tape noise and wear that you would normally see on older/highly rented VHS tape. From the slight color bleeding to the white lines that go across the screen, as well as the pan/scan picture that you could tell came from a widescreen print. THIS IS HOW the intent of what they were trying to do really came across and it did not detract from the film, but rather added to it. I enjoyed the film much more than before. In fact it was done so well that you could no longer tell the movie was shot on digital, but more so resembles actual film. That format view works very well for the overall presentation. Also (and ironically) switching the sound from hi-fi stereo to mono really made the levels jump (usually it is the opposite) and it blended in everything perfectly.
WHY OH WHY the makers of the film did not choose to release this as the final version for the DVD is beyond me. The perfect looking clean cut that is used for the DVD really does no justice for the film at all. It was more so like a pre-final release and the VHS version being what the film should have been. So if you did not like the film, but do have access to the VHS version, I would say give the film another chance and watch that edition instead. It really makes a wonderful jump in the end and for the better
this had all the elements to be a great homage to the 80's but it fails because the acting is god awful and the effects couldn't touch what they did in the 80's with movies like The Prowler and The Burning don't get me wrong i really wanted to love this movie and couldn't wait to see it especially the old school VHS/DVD packaging the movie came in but i was disappointed on so many levels i think it was trying to copy the same element as Slumber Party Massacre but at least those movies had semi decent acting as opposed to the horrible stiff acting in The Sleeper,i'm still very interested to see what the director will offer in the future he had a decent grindhouse homage with Deathstop Holocaust that wasn't bad at all
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where do you start?
Let's start (and maybe finish) with - why 1981? I know, I live in the UK, maybe sorority houses are just Oh, so 80s. But my worry is someone saw so many damn plot holes in this that they shoved it into the 80s to try to cover it up.
Its sad, really. There are plenty of struggling writers and potential directors struggling to get films made, and then this happens...
What do I do, now? Go through all the plot holes and farcical inadequacies?
Just for a start - single frontal lobe trauma = death? No
Claw hammer (always clean) = threatening? Not really
Single axe blow? No....
Silly cloudy contact lenses = menacing? Errrr....
Doctors wearing black cowboy shirts and shoelace ties? I mean, what?
And everybody in the film has congenital tunnel vision. They are completely incapable of noticing anyone creeping up on them.
AND the casting director was told to go for faces and ignore bodies.
OK. Anyone would think I didn't like it.
I gave it 2 stars because - OK. I waited 'til the end.
OK, it's a family gig. Lots of Russells. But, I'm sorry. It's adequately acted, even adequately directed, but get someone else to write. Seriously, Justin, (writer, director, producer, editor, cinematographer, sound editor), get a decent script writer on board if you want to find your break-through film.
Justin Russell, after providing us with the 70's grindhouse throwback
Death Stop Holocaust, has now popped up in the 80's with the slasher
throwback, The Sleeper. Now, I was able to acquire the box set
featuring a VHS copy. You might ask, was this basically the DVD release
only now I have to rewind it? The answer my friends, is absolutely NOT!
The VHS version was the way this film is meant to be watched. Dark,
grainy, with the occasional white static pop, I was taken back to my
childhood. That's a rare thing.
The film itself is a simple one. Sorority sisters and frat guys get picked off by a mysterious, milky eyed stalker. OK. Now you're prepared! Now, sit and enjoy yourself! That's the way our beloved 80's slashers were meant to be viewed, so why should this film be any different?! Don't over think it! It's OK to have fun! The cinematography is spot-on, never venturing into "too dark" territory. This leads me to the lighting. Very practical lighting was used and this totally ups the atmosphere. No over the top, technical lens flairs... Simple, effective light sources. The music is top notch, never being too much. Several times, the best music was when there was none! Mr. Russell understood this and used the music where it was best suited for the scene. Just watch the auditorium scene...
The Sleeper is not a perfect film, but then again, tell me an 80's slasher that ever was! That's the beauty of a film like this. Justin Russell set out to make a fun, 80's slasher and in my opinion, he succeeded. I'll take The Sleeper over any half-assed, 10 million dollar star-studded remake any day of the week.
If you are a fan of 80's slashers, you will enjoy this film. This is your opportunity to kick your feet up, relax, and have a good time. Be sure to bring your friends...
For fans of: HALLOWEEN, PROM NIGHT, HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE, THE PROWLER, BLACK Christmas, THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, and THE INITIATION.
You know the expression "they don't the make em' like they used to"? Well, that's not entirely true in this case. I am an an avid horror fan, and I adore the 80's slasher genre. Many films attempt to emulate the look and vibe of this genre, yet fall so far in their attempts. Justin Russell and his GammaKnife films production crew absolutely nailed almost every element of what an 80's slasher embodied. The look, tone, dialogue, and music. The killer "The Sleeper " was brilliantly portrayed. The gore was fantastic!There were flaws and questions left unanswered ... but in almost every slasher from that time period this seemed to be the case. If you're a horror fan, you need to own "The Sleeper" in your collection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you are not a fan of micro-budget flicks stay away, if you don't
like slasher flicks also stay away. That being said, this was a
somewhat fun feature, I get what they were trying to do, but something
was missing in my humble opinion.
I thought the stalking scenes of the victims were pretty good and the FX equally good, however every time we had scenes with the detective I was bored and the ending was not as good as it could it been. I know probably due to budget budget constraints.
It had the right ingredients: somewhat attractive cast, couple of cool death scenes, a sex scene (without nudity though), a creepy enough killer, bimbo skin (breast shots), some cool music and a totally unexpected musical number (which I did not hate like other reviewers).
To me what didn't work were the ending and cop scenes. It could've used a little more screaming from the would be victims too (only 2 of the girls scream in the whole movie).
So many haters and lovers for this return to the original slashers, the
heydays beginning in the eighties. Please stop complaining about the
way it was filmed and no scratches on the reel and ugly women and no
story at all. Let me say this, I enjoyed it and I grew up with the
slashers coming out on daily base and I have so many laying here on VHS
that never were released and aren't even worth watching but this does.
Maybe I agree that the look of the film wasn't really eighties by which I mean, no scratches at all and no too dark passages or bad sound. Face it, if it was filmed in 1981 (the year this flick took place) then it surely would have that look but cameras and technique do progress and it's all HD and DV cams nowadays so to make it look 'old' isn't that simple or you have to add fake scratches afterwards when you are colourgrading or in post production. At least he didn't use to much extra lighting.
But back to the flick, it do has all items a slasher should have, it do has a score with equipment outdated made by Gremlin, sounds close to the old Argento giallo's with Goblin, hahaha. That's already an ode to that era. It do has POV shots from the killer, there is a heroin, there is the so needed nudity, everything counts.
The acting won't win a BAFTA or an Oscar but the main lead Amy (Brittany Belland) was in her first role and she did well. Maybe the talking at the party is a bit of a wooden acting but overall I do dig it. As I said earlier here and in other reviews, there is more terrible acting out there...To come back on the nudity. I guess reviewers reacting that she was ugly, well, at least it wasn't a two a penny fake tits wannabee, I think the hoi polloi nowadays are used to see C or D cups as fake as it could be. Back in the original eighties fake breasts didn't exist, whatever. It is out there to see and she's do has a normal look, nothing fake here.
Someone complaining on the plastic used when one girl is being smashed, for a ultra low budget it was nicely done (editing) and there's a lot of red stuff in it. Not that it is gory but still it works.
The killer itself isn't explained why he does the killing and who he is and what is wrong with his eyes. But there are more slashers out without any explanation.
I came across this flick because I still searching OOP ex rental exploitation and horror flicks on VHS. The limited package that is available has a VHS (NTSC) and DVD coming in a box that will give old school buffs a hard on. With a trailer, really made old school for a non existing horror.
A nice slasher with all elements included to make it a slasher. it isn't perfect but it is above average. And no, I have nothing to do with this flick. I just review in a honest way, I even don't live in the US. Pick it up today.
Gore 3/5 Nudity 1/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0/5
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Parents Guide||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|