19 user 3 critic

Dead Awake (2001)

Desmond Caine suffers from insomnia and spends his nights walking the streets. One night, he witnesses a murder, generating a strange chain of events in his life.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Desmond Caine
Edward Yankie ...
Det. Gary Belladonna
Kimberly 'Kick' Birmingham
Chaney Streeter
Lena Savage
Alma Blasquez
Frank Schorpion ...
McCoy Wright
Daniel Brochu ...
Pit Bull Owner
Gillian Ferrabee ...
Gloria Magik
Lorne Brass ...
Udo Magik
Vicki (as Michelle Lipper)
Donovan Reiter ...
Horace Ramirez


An insomniac wanders the streets at night and ends up at a local deli where life's losers appear to end up, including a nice, although slightly lost young woman and a slightly deranged, apparently homeless man, and a untalkative, dysfunctional cop hangout. On one of the late night forays, the insomniac witnesses a murder. When he tries to report, there is no sign of the murder, but the cops become convinced he is the killer. But wait, that is not the weird part. It seems that the insomniac has a girl friend, who doesn't have a clue that he gets up at night and wanders the city, and a personal assistant, who knows all about his exploits. But it only gets weirder from there as the cops uncover that the murdered man is connected to the man's girl friend. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sleepwalking in a nightmare


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 November 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dead awake. Insomnio  »

Filming Locations:

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Did You Know?


At the end of the movie, when Desmond is talking to UDO, the door of the red Mercedes is closed. When the shot expands to a wide view for a brief moment before scene change, the door is open. See more »

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User Reviews

Vive la non-linear...
11 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

...and somewhat believable entertaining plot devices!

I came across this film on my DVR a few days after combing late night TV for zombie movies (by virtue of the film's name)... And though it has less to do with the flesh-eating kind of zombie, Dead Awake has at least one zombie, played by Stephen Baldwin. While I'd like to make a joke at this point about the zombie reference being in reference to Baldwin family acting, he did okay in this one, and plays a corporate warrior who, though is successful, wanders through his days in a zombie-like trance because he is some sort of unexplained insomniac-narcoleptic. He's an insomniac who has is awake most nights and catches his rest in various lengths of micro sleep (with his eyes open). Enough of the plot is disclosed in the IMDb synopsis above (or probably also in the DVD liner notes), so I won't repeat it, but I will relate that some of the plot devices in this murder mystery are all at once simple, yet not completely unbelievable or borrowed/warmed over from other films.

There are also interesting characters and decent camera work. The entire movie has the feeling of Insomnia (the movie with Al Pacino), though it's faster paced and requires less critical or intense thinking. There's a neat scene where the camera moves forward through a cab (in one window, out the other), and then you hear the cab take off, in an obvious attempt to trick the viewer into thinking there's no camera at all. It's easy to figure the trick out, but I appreciated the little extra thought and prep that must have went into the scene, adding to the films overall stream of dreamlike consciousness. It's by no means a "Waking Life" experience, or as contrived as Snatch, but a very unexpected sleeper that I had never heard of before.

The music and ambiance not bad. Though it's filmed in Canada, it leaves you with the feeling that it could be New York, Chicago, or any believable Eastern US metro city.

There is a server at the diner who is legally blind. Unlike so many films that portray blindness (especially low-vision/legal blindness) inaccurately, the blind girl treatment in Dead Awake was quite realistic, and will certainly leave some people wondering "how could she see if she is blind?". She was actually one of the more believable, well-played characters in the film.

Overall, I probably would have walked past this one at the video rental store, especially with Stephen Baldwin on the cover, but I was mildly glad I mistakenly recorded it.

PostScript: There's a short bonus scene in the credits betraying a happy little conclusion to the narcosomnia.

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