Parasomnia (2008)

OCTOBER 17, 2008

GENRE: PSYCHOLOGICAL, SERIAL KILLER
SOURCE: THEATRICAL (SCREAMFEST)

After watching a promo reel at the last Fango convention, I was pretty sure that, if nothing else, Parasomnia would be Bill Malone’s most visually interesting film. And I was correct; for a low budget independent film (Malone funded the movie entirely out of his own pocket!), the dreamscapes and various visual setpieces are pretty damn astonishing. But while it’s certainly an improvement over the storytelling of his last film (Featdotcom), there were a couple story issues that kept me from really loving the film.

One thing is that the hero of the movie is kind of a creepy weirdo. He essentially kidnaps the heroine (who suffers from the titular, and apparently real, affliction), and then “bathes” her later on (removing all of her clothes while she is asleep), something that became a running gag amongst ourselves (essentially, whenever the girl got food on her chin or whatever throughout the film, someone would say “You need a bath....” and we’d all be rolling again). There’s the flawed hero, and then there’s the “this guy really isn’t that much less dangerous than the villain”.

Speaking of the villain, I liked that he’s a giant imposing guy (the awesomely named Patrick Kilpatrick, who indeed popped up playing an Arnold-esque Terminator on Sarah Connor Chronicles just a week or so ago) who is also intelligent, but his constant quoting of literature and such gets a bit annoying. He barely ever actually “says” anything, it’s almost all quotes. We get it, he’s smart – but does he have his own thoughts too?

Otherwise, it’s an above average “killer and victim are linked” serial killer movie, with some truly great sequences. There’s a bit late in the film where Kilpatrick has a bunch of automatons play a song – it’s creepy and weird and awesome, and I wish there were more of them. And any movie with Jeffrey Combs can’t be altogether bad, and even though I’m not a fan of the film, I liked that he was essentially playing the same guy he played in Feardotcom. He has about as much screen time as he did there, which is a shame (more Combs!) but he has a partner to verbally spar with, someone almost equally amusing (instead of the dull character Stephen Dorff was playing in the earlier film), so that’s good.

It could use a big thrill element earlier on in the narrative (Kilpatrick’s character doesn’t really become a threat until the 2nd half of the film), but it’s still a step up for Malone as a filmmaker, and I look forward to what he does next. I also hope the eventual DVD contains some of the footage that was apparently cut (I heard someone say that his rough cut was much longer – not sure if that’s true), but a theatrical showing shouldn’t be taken out of consideration. The visuals and automaton work (some by KNB) deserve to be seen on the big screen.

What say you?

5 comments:

  1. I agree some of the movie felt uneven, but overall a great and tripy film. It looks like the filmmaker had a vision and executed it very well!

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  2. JennaTheGiantKillerOctober 19, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    It's about time that somebody made something different. I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought my ticket for it at Screamfest. All I can say is WOW! This takes a little time to get started (not anywhere near as long as Hostel) but when it does it OMFG!!! It ROCKS!!! Coolest ending EVER!!

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  3. Uneven???? You mean unique... I've never seen a film like Parasomnia. It's intelligent, the visuals were stunning and the villian is a waking nightmare. I can't wait to see it again.

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  4. I'll be curious to check this out; I didn't care for Feardotcom or House on Haunted Hill but thought both were so visually interesting, Malone has to have some kind of great film up his sleeve. Sounds like this is a step in the right direction.

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  5. I saw the film Friday at Screamfest also, I really liked it! It was a very refreshing change. I didn't have any of the same problems you had with it. I agree Combs was brilliant as usual! And that the lead guy was perhaps the weakest of the cast. However still quite good. BTW If you think about what happened in the end, I don't think he's "the hero" in the film. I think the girl Laura is super good and probably our hottest Horror leading lady to date! For the most part the acting was really strong all the way around. The only guy that felt a little low budget to me was the evil doctor.

    Where I disagree is that no one kept saying "she needs a bath." After the guy cleaned her up, because she got all dirty rolling around in the grass, she gets ice cream, not just on her chin, but all over her face, and the guy says something like "I gotta give you another bath" or something like that i can't remember exactly. I thought the look she gave him when he said that, was brilliant and gave her much more depth! She went from playing with the ice cream like a child, to acting like a woman in two secs. And it only said once so I don't know what you guys were laughing at (men can be sooo immature) And I don't think the villian quoting literature was to relay his intelligence. I thought he was quoting literature because he's a "rare book dealer"! And thats how he thinks! He has a lot of lines toward the end where he's not quoting literature.

    I agree it kinda starts off a little slow, there is a good bit of back story and relationship building that has to take place, but I still found it entertaining. And once the sh!t hit the fan, it kicks arse! The killings are great! Nice and ooie and gooie!! I loved the dream worlds and the classical music and the mechanical stuff, and I really didn't expect the ending!! In todays world of remakes and half baked formulaic teen slasher movies, I thought it was way above average. It's Fantastic!

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