The Sleeper (2012) DVD Review

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The Sleeper (2012)

Dir. Justin Russell

Starring – Brittany Belland, Tiffany Arnold, Jessica Cameron, Jason Jay Crabtree.

UK DVD Release 17th June 2013

Safecracker Pictures

Ok so I admit before I received this I had not heard of The Sleeper. So I had no idea what to expect when I put it in the DVD player, I had no research and had not even searched on IMDB.

What I saw was a completely unexpected triumph of a film. The Sleeper is a throwback to the golden age of straight-to-video slasher films and is terrific.

I started watching The Sleeper and thought “hang on , something about this film isn’t right” , The Sleeper is either a mess of a film with bad acting ,awful effects and little in the way of a story OR it is everything I love and have loved about Slashers in the past 30 years and is cleverly reconstructing everything from the genre in the early 1980’s. So on to the film!!

The Sleeper starts in 1981 where college student Amy (Brittany Belland – who looks remarkably like UK athlete Jessica Ennis) is on her very quiet snowy college campus as is given a flyer to a sorority party for the Alpha Gamma Theta house, Amy convinces her non-conformist friend Ava (Ali Ferda) to join her at at the party.

The girls at ABT have been receiving what can only be decribed as “dirty phonecalls”, which everyone is just laughing off as Cindy’s (Jessica Cameron) goofy boyfriend Bobby (Paul Moon) . At the party everyone is getting on fine and even a couple of the girls boyfriends have arrived. Cindy takes her boyfriend Bobby upstairs for sex (a big no-no in slashers), and as the house mother (Beverly Kristy) has expressly banned all boys after midnight then Bobby has to leave. After Bobby has left we see a figure enter Cindy’s bedroom and cave her face in with a hammer!! Yay for slashers.

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The following day everyone realises Cindy is missing and the phone-calls continue, so with the police called and a maniac on the loose it is a fight for survival against The Sleeper!!

The Sleeper has so much to offer, it is made in such a referential manner that it is hard for a slasher film nerd like myself not to totally love it. It is almost a homage to the Slasher genre , there is a massive nod to Bob Clark’s wonderful 1974 classic Black Christmas with the sorority house , the snow and of course the obscene calls.

There was also a wonderful scene in the swimming pool that reminded me of the classic Fatal Games (1984) , also it was just genius when the girl dives in the pool she almost bellyflops in and can just manage to swim the front crawl whilst purporting to be a serious swimmer.

The Sleeper just hit my buttons on so many levels , one of the reasons I am so in love with horror films was my local video store where I could rent all the new VHS films and the straight-to-video slashers were my staple through the early 80’s and The Sleeper just took me back to those great days.

The Sleeper is a 1981 Slasher film made in 2012. It is fun , bloody and fantastic. I can understand the people over on IMDB thinking this is a serious attempt at a horror film and rating it badly, but that is nowhere near what this is. The Sleeper is a homage to great indie slashers, a look back with love at the much maligned genre that started hundreds of careers and made me the guy I am today.

 

I laughed throughout but it is not funny, I was laughing because I was getting the “in” jokes and the references. That makes me sound like the guy who says “you don’t understand this film on as many levels as me” , but for The Sleeper that could well be true! And I apologise!

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The death scenes were cheesy, the acting is wooden and we never do find anything out about any characters. There are no back stories , we have idea why The Sleeper is killing or indeed who the hell he is , but that’s fine – I don’t want to know and I don’t care.

As well as a massive thumbs up for writer/director Justin Russell there must also be honourable mentions for final girl Brittany Belland who plays the innocent and naïve Amy to perfection , and to Jason Jay Crabtree who plays the creepy , jerky psycho The Sleeper. He is reminiscent of many Slasher villains and plays him with much aplomb.

If you love or have any knowledge of Slasher Films from the late 70’s to the early 80’s then The Sleeper is a MASSIVE recommend . If you don’t then watch The Sleeper but remember this is a tongue-in-cheek modern day slasher that doesn’t take itself seriously .

The highlight of the film is the dance scene in a bar about half way through. This is just hilarious and Prom Night sprung to mind . The film is worth watching just for this one scene alone, and hopefully soon I will know all the moves!

I must admit I am pretty pissed off I had no idea about this film, so go to the bottom of the class Mr Deen !!

One thing I dislike is the UK cover , the American version was so much in keeping with the feel and aesthetics of the film. The UK cover makes it look like a general standard horror.

The Sleeper is currently in my top 10 of films released this year , and may stay there 8.5/10

Watch if you are a fan of Black Christmas , House on Sorority Row , Curtains , Fatal Games , Halloween , He Knows You’re Alone , Animal House , Slumber Party Massacre and many more.

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SAFECRACKER PICTURES is a UK film distribution company with a growing reputation for pioneering distribution techniques. With a passion for independent film and a commitment to support creativity, the company has enjoyed enormous success with an eclectic mix of film titles across all genres. In partnership with their sister distribution company Classic Entertainment, Safecracker’s library stretches to over 500 titles. To visit their site click HERE

About Andy Deen

A horror fan for as far back as I can remember . The first things that scared me were Doctor Who and the BBC ghost stories . As an early teen the video revolution came along and with it the Video Nasty campaign , and through all that I immersed myself in all things nasty. I love Slashers, Haunted House Stories and Devil Worshipping/Panic Films . I watch too much horror , listen to loud Heavy Metal and enjoy the odd tattoo \m/\m/
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