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Hal MacDermot [Film Festival 10.18.08] movie review horror



Year: 2009
Director: William Malone
Writers: William Malone
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 7.3 out of 10

This was the premiere of Parasomnia and the Director Bill Malone (Fear.com, House on Haunted Hill) was present to tell us that the inspiration for his movie came as he was watching the Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920). Also eating popcorn were cast members Dylan Purcell, Cherilyn Wilson, Patrick Kilpartrick, Jeffrey Combs, Timothy Bottoms and Cinematographer Christian Sebaldt. Parasomnia is a Sleeping Beauty legend reinvention with dashes of Beetlejuice and Pan's Labyrinth. Despite a fine performance from Patrick Kilpatrick as the evil hypnotist, Dr Volpe ( a performance so good, I little bird tells me it got him picked up for the new Mixed Martial Arts project by the Argentinean fight man Hector Echavarria), and some very stylish camera work, the film as a whole is somewhat patchy in the story and the character development department. I left somewhat unconvinced. The mechanical automaton scene is still absolutely brilliant. No word on a theatrical release yet.


"The human drama of young art student, Danny Sloan (DYLAN PURCELL), who falls in love with the innocent and beautiful Laura Baxter (CHERILYN WILSON), a young woman afflicted with a rare sleep disorder. In her treacherous forays in and out of reality, she encounters a mentalist and serial killer Byron Volpe (PATRICK KILPATRICK) who tries to bend her fragile mind to his will."

The experience kicks off with some trippy credits and a fairly random flash forward to Dylan Purcell (Danny) on a bus with a gun in a bag. This is followed by quite a few more random trippy dreamy sequences of Dylan before we get to story take-off when he comes across the beautiful but sleep afflicted Lauren (Cherilyn Wilson) in a psychiatric hospital. Lauren suffers from Parasomnia which means she wakes up hardly ever and only for a few minutes when she does. Anyhow, she's hot, so he falls in love with her, and me too. I checked out Parasomnia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasomnia) in wiki and it's actually a real if tweaked condition. Unfortunately for Danny, a few doors down the psychotic and Hannibal Lector like Byron Volpe is kept in isolation and he too is in love with Lauren, or at least wants to possess her in many ways, biblical and otherwise. Meanwhile, some heartless Doctors plan to perform medical experiments on Lauren, so Danny busts her out of the hospital and takes her to his own home, and that's when the action and the blood begin. Beware of bringing chicks home on a first date.

Before I get into all that, I have to get a few things of my chest. I know it's a genre movie, but I just didn't buy that Volpe is kept suspended in a room with a sack on his head a la Guantanamo. Really? I thought the performance of Danny's mate Billy (Dov Tiefenbach) was way too affected and Danny's didn't really blow me away either. Volpe and his eyes were awesome. Patrick Kilpatrick is the man. The two hard bitten old cop characters were played fine, but the characters were written from the start as patsies and stereotypes. The cruel Drs were never properly developed as characters. I love stories about dreams and mind stuff, but you can't just rely on great visuals and trippy stuff to tell the story (BTW, cinematographer Christian Sebaldt and really did a great job. Full of dreamy angles and I liked the dark time-lapse skies. Whatever else, this is a stylishly shot movie.

Story: Danny now has Lauren back at his pad, but he sort of wishes he didn't. Her dreams become inhabited by the nightmare world of Volpe and his demons. She turns into a murderous loony. I loved the nightmare sequences although I suppose on a technical level, it looked a bit computerish, but for me it was still powerful because of the imagery. Some of my favorite scenes are of Lauren possessed. Nothing can beat a blood drenched chick in a cheerleader outfit.

From now on it's cat and mouse between Danny and Volpe, and Volpe is by far the most interesting character, and performance. You need to see the gothic goggle wearing chicks playing cellos and the automatons (made me think of that mechanical museum by the Cliffhouse restaurant in San Francisco). They play full on classical music (was it Elgar?) which contrasts well to the 1960s pop also runs through the movie. The resolution? Not telling. But I will say that if you try to hypnotize a girl, make sure that she's not carrying a screwdriver. Fans of the visual will like much about this film, those who love story and character development might like it less.

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

I agree with your review on most levels, but I thought that this movie is worth the price of admission for the visuals alone. Patrick Kilpartrick was right on as was Cherilyn Wilson as Laura. This is a must see for horror fans who are tired of the same old schlock. I hope this movie gets a wide release!

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

It's unfortunate the film crossed so many genres and was so different. Because of that, it probably won't get a wide release, even though I personally really enjoyed it. It was visually stunning and the cast were all dead on.

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DorianGrey (9 years ago) Reply

It's rare that anyone makes something really different. This film is not only different but seriously good. Please more films like this... Is Hollywood listening? They probably won't even pick this up...It's not a cookie cutter movie. Love it.

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Peter Venkman (9 years ago) Reply

I saw this friday night also! I would give it a 9 out of 10. I prefer both visual, and story and character development. The film packs a whole lot of plot into an hour and a half! Who gives a crud about the cruel Dr. Going into the character development of a non important character, no one needs to care about, only gets off the main focus of the story. The movie does an excellent job of developing the relationship between the girl and boy, almost too good of a job, and develops Volpes character, as one mean nasty guy that you hope never becomes infatuated with you. Thats the main focus of the story, any thing else is just fluff. I loved Jeff Combs and his partner, and can't imagine any other type of cop would fit in with this movie. The chick is totally hot! I love her! I hope she does more horror! we need hotties like her! The film is great, I hope it steers the formulaic slasher toward more creative entries.

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catwoman (9 years ago) Reply

I love this movie for 1 and only one great reason.It doesn't have big name actors like some douche from the OC or chic from the hills or upcoming brats to make people notice the film. No rap music at the end credits to sell your movie. Instead it was like a trip back to the 80's when films were great and people were drawn in by the story and visuals. We need more people in film to care about making something great rather than making crap and putting big stars to sell it.

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Morbid Beans (9 years ago) Reply

In the past, and with the excption of his Master Of Horror) my only complaint about Malones films, is his relying too heavily on visuals to tell the story, which results in lack of character and story development. However that is not at all the case with this movie, and I don't even know how you came to that conclusion. An entire 45 mins (approx) of character and story development goes by before any of the killing starts! If anything it MAYBE could use a little trimming of the development. Man but once it gets going, it a crazy, bizarre roller coaster ride! I really enjoyed this film. It'll definitely become a cult hit if not a mainstream hit!

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Cyberhal (9 years ago) Reply

well, I agree that it's visually original and I'd definitely rather watch Parasomnia than the average slasher

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Anonymous (9 years ago) Reply

I got lucky enough to catch Parasomnia at Screamfest on the 17th. THIS MOVIE IS COOL!!!!! and weird, did I mention cool!!!! Its' got Uber-crazy out of this world dream sequences, funny and tragic characters, and plenty of Screams to go around. The Villian, VOLPE, (Hannibal Lechter on steroids). is worth the ticket price.

Do yourself a favor and see this moive.

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tranvien (8 years ago) Reply

I watched this movie first time and felt good immediately because of movie scene, and music.
Wow , I like it too much.and the beautiful actress Cherilyn Wilson ,I'm happy.and talk about music in this Movie, I wonder what title of the music(symphony) that played by two girls near the end of this movie, the scene Laura was asleep in the coffin.Can anyone knows the title of short music line played by 2 gilrs ? thanks in advance

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Peep (8 years ago) Reply

Hello tranvien... I was investigating the title of those symphonies too.. But I couldn't find the first melody that the girls played :( I really wanna find it.

The second one is called "Jupiter" by Holst i think...
Here is a youtube link to it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W0vVpkvX4Y
You will probably have to skip 3 minutes to get to the part that was in the Movie.


If anyone knows the title of the first melody the two girls played, please write it D=

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(6 years ago) Reply

The one that was being played in the mechanical scene was "montagnes and capulets' from romeo and juliet" by serge prokofiev... I hope that is the one you are looking for : )

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Clau (8 years ago) Reply

where can i get the name of the songs played by the two girls

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Anonymous (8 years ago) Reply

I don't think I could hate this movie much more than I did. As far as the review goes, I have to disagree with your assertion that those who like visuals will like it more than those who want story and character development. My first thought was you were right. I fall into the latter category and yes, this movie was lacking in that respect. But even the visuals sucked. I hate horror movies that go for cheap gore to scare. What's so appealing about seeing someone's blood, guts, and brains spilling out of them every 10 minutes or so? Nothing! I may prefer story and characters to visuals, but even I can appreciate good visuals on occassion. This movie delivered neither. (Compare this to Moulin Rouge, for example. I know, different genre, but at least it delivered both storyline and visuals well. I'm coming up blank on a thriller/horror/psychological movie with stunning visuals. Sorry.) I think at the end of the day, this was simply a good concept horribly, horribly executed. Never heard of Kleine-Levin's disease before this, so at least it educated me a bit. I just wish the movie had been able to utilize what is in fact a very interesting condition--sleeping your life away. Maybe someday, when this movie is long forgotten (if anyone ever notices it much in the first place) someone will.

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biolyl1003 (8 years ago) Reply

Peep,thank you.

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

The mysterious music played by the two young women on violin and cello is Prokofiev's "Dance of the Knights". Seems that a lot of people want to know that.

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george (7 years ago) Reply

"Fans of the visual will like much about this film, those who love story and character development might like it less." This remark from the review has always been Malone's problem. He likes visual gimmicks much more that story and character development. The artwork actually belongs to an old Vampyre love story he wrote, but never for made.

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Anonymous (3 years ago) Reply

-1'


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