SLEEPLESS (2001) Reviews and overview


Sleepless is a 2001 Italian horror-thriller film directed by Dario Argento. It marked Argento’s return to the giallo subgenre. Goblin reunited to provide the score.


The movie stars Max von Sydow (The Exorcist; Night Visitor), Chiara Caselli, Stefano Dionisi, and Gabriele Lavia.


Detective Ulisse Moretti (von Sydow) is investigating a series of murders in Turin in 1983 known as The Dwarf Murders. The main suspect, a giallo novelist named Vincenzo de Fabritiis, turns up dead and the case is considered closed.

However, seventeen years later, a similar series of murders begin and draw the since-retired Moretti back into the case. Moretti teams up with Giacomo (Stefano Dionisi), whose mother was murdered in the 1983 spree, to determine if de Fabritiis is still alive or was actually innocent of the crimes for which he was accused. As the killings continue, the investigating duo discovers that the murderer is arranging their murder to an old nursery rhyme about the slaughter of animals.

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The Animal Farm, the poem that helps Commissioner Moretti and Giacomo to solve the crimes, was written by Asia Argento, daughter of director Dario Argento.

The original US video release from Artisan Entertainment was heavily edited for content. Every murder sequence in the film was trimmed down for less graphic violence, including the decapitation murder of the ballet dancer which omits the image of the head hitting the floor. In all over a minute worth of footage was cut. European DVD releases of the film are completely uncut. Buy Sleepless uncut: |

Sleepless backstage


“A return to form for one of the genre’s true masters, Sleepless delivers the giallo goods with some style, and that opening sequence and von Sydow’s presence are almost worth the price of admission alone.” Cine Outsider

“If you think about it, Sleepless is that rare film where its director is both its biggest asset and its major weakness, with a potentially good film suffering somewhere in-between. It’s a shame that Argento the director couldn’t have had a better creative relationship with Argento the writer this time around. Those two have hit the bullseye on so many previous occasions, one expects it each time they work together.” Classic-Horror

“Argento can still get beneath your skin and while Sleepless certainly features a good half dozen set pieces worth taking a look at, the giallo director’s fascination with the subconscious has reached a ridiculous lows here.” Slant



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Cast and characters:

Max von Sydow … Moretti
Stefano Dionisi … Giacomo
Chiara Caselli … Gloria
Gabriele Lavia … Mr. Betti
Rossella Falk … Laura de Fabritiis
Paolo Maria Scalondro … Manni
Roberto Zibetti … Lorenzo
Roberto Accornero Roberto Accornero … Fausto
Barbara Lerici … Angela
Guido Morbello … Detective
Massimo Sarchielli … Leone
Diego Casale … Beppe
Alessandra Comerio … Sig.ra Betti
Elena Marchesini … Mel (La Gattina)
Aldo Massasso … Cascio

Technical details:

117 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby Digital


The film was a box office success when it opened in Italy, taking in over $5,019,733,505 lira ($3,280,080 US) by the end of its theatrical run.


New and future releases