OCTOBER 17, 2008
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?