‘In My Sleep’: Sleepy thriller

April 22, 2010


While we’re waiting for the inevitable reappearance of Freddy Krueger – as though we needed a digitally enhanced remake of that so-called classic – we can cogitate on “In My Sleep,” opening Friday in limited release.


Indeed, this is an exceptionally limited release, in terms of the amount of sense it makes and how slowly the plot grinds. It plays like an overstuffed Lifetime movie, if that network for women ever made movies about nice guys who happen to be sex-addicted murder suspects with a sleep disorder.


It definitely plays like something aimed at lower-echelon cable, with its overamped acting and draggy plot (perfect for cutting and inserting commercials). But it lacks the testosterone of something for Spike; it definitely has that sensitive Lifetime or Hallmark vibe, except for its priapic protagonist.


His name is Marcus and he’s played, and not too badly, by Simon Winchester, a well-toned piece of beefcake who, handily, works as a masseur at a spa run by his best friend, Justin (Tim Draxl). Indeed, Justin and his wife, Ann (Kelly Overton), are both long-time friends of Marcus, who tsk-tsk at his inability to get into a lasting relationship.


But then who’d want to when you’ve got the kind of winning streak that Marcus seems to be on. He’s seen on what apparently is a typical evening out with Justin and Ann at a club, where Marcus scores with every woman he dances with, taking them into the men’s room to have sex. After a while, you wonder where he gets the energy to dance.


That’s not to mention his job, where his clientele consists of good-looking women who can’t wait to shuck their clothes for one of his rubdowns. No one utters the words “happy endings” but it’s obviously on the menu.


But as mentioned, Marcus has a problem with sleeping. Specifically, he has parasomnia, a syndrome which, in this case, that not only incudes sleep-walking, but also sleep-driving, sleep-talking, sleep-seducing and, as he begins to fear, sleep-killing.


He comes to that conclusion when he wakes up one morning to find his sheets soaked with blood, which is also smeared on his chest and dripping from a large butcher’s knife lying on the carpet. And you know how that stains.


But he has no memory of anything that happened after he went to sleep. Did he kill someone? And who might it have been?


He gradually comes to the conclusion that he may just have murdered Ann, who turns up dead, complete with gruesome, butcher-knife-size stab wounds. Oh yeah, it turns out he also had sex with Ann (though he doesn’t remember it; sleep-boinking, I guess). Even worse, he has sex with Gwen (Abigail Breslin), someone he meets at his sex-addicts’ program – only to discover that she’s spying on him for, well, by that time you’ll have given up. For good measure, the cast includes Lacey Chabert as his cheerily stalkerish next-door neighbor.


Winchester is a likable enough presence and he does what he can with this half-baked, ovecooked piece of cheese. He spends a lot of time with his shirt off, which should please some movie-goers.


Personally, I’d like to give parasomnia a try. If you could give yourself some pre-sleep direction, it would come in handy when there aren’t enough hours in the day.


Unfortunately, “In My Sleep,” from first-time director Allen Wolf, feels like a movie that was made by someone who is barely conscious. It will cure your insomnia, though you may find yourself sleep-walking toward the exit long before it’s over.


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