THE DARK SLEEP (2012) Reviews of Poe adaptation with stop-motion monsters!

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‘Some doors should never open’
The Dark Sleep is a 2012 American horror film about a misandrist female writer tormented by a giant rat and surreal nightmares.

Written and directed by Brett Piper (Outpost EarthMuckman; Bite Me!ArachniaDrainiac!Queen Crab; et al), loosely inspired by H.P. Lovecraft‘s ‘The Dreams in the Witch House’, the movie stars Taylor Nicole Adams, Steve Diasparra (Shark Encounters of the Third Kind; Amityville Exorcism; Frozen Sasquatch; et al), Ashley Galloway, Ken Van Sant (Return to Splatter Farm; Bride of the Werewolf; Bigfoot vs Zombies; et al) and Bob Dennis (Jurassic Prey; Black Mass; The House That Screamed; et al). Produced by director Mark Polonia who also appears in a cameo role.

The soundtrack score was composed by Jon Greathouse (Triclops;  Bacterium; Killer Story; Witchouse 3: Demon Fire; et al).

Following her recent divorce, an author moves into a new home to begin penning her next novel. Little does she know this house has some dark secrets.

A giant rat visits her in the middle of the night and in her basement lies a pathway to another dimension. Haunting dreams soon begin…

“The film is at its strongest when it follows Lovecraft‘s short story. Also, a lot of attention has been put on the stop motion animation effect work in the film. Rightfully so, it’s all very well done. But just because the flick features “alright” acting and good special effects isn’t reason enough to recommend it.” Cinema Head Cheese

” …The Dark Sleep shows the glimmer of a possible turnaround with a thread about reality-altering dreamscapes […]  If those few shreds of real story ideas had not been flushed away with nonsensical scenes of actresses running in place against a green screen and battling skeleton creatures made out of Play-Doh, The Dark Sleep might have been closer to becoming something almost watchable.” Culture Crypt

“The setup is a bit of a slog, but not because the house isn’t even remotely historical or atmospheric […] or the combination of neat stop-motion creatures and visual effects that look like a mash-up of The Cell and Touched By An Angel; it’s the ill-tempered main character. Even though her tendency to be abrasive is addressed in the dialogue, she pretty much comes across as the least sympathetic character…” DVD Drive-In 

“The acting is amateurish and one can’t help but wonder why a second take wasn’t done at times so that we don’t have to watch the actors tripping over their lines […] Let’s just assume that Piper and his crew were going for a throwback look with their use of green-screen and stop-motion effects. There’s nothing wrong with these techniques, it’s just that they look especially bad here.” DVD Sleuth

Dreams in the Witch House is not H.P. Lovecraft’s strongest work but it has plenty going for it. What we have here with this adaption is the poorest possible way to tell it. Any promise, such as the idea of dreams and reality affecting each other is lost in a blur of cringe-worthy acting, embarrassing visual effects and attempts at comedy that fall completely flat.” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

“Let’s face it, we watch Brett Piper’s movies not because we expect a masterful drama, but because we want to see a nice, friendly, trashy B-Movie with a few shudders and lots of great creature effects. And we’ve got that.” Rivets on the Poster

“The acting was top-notch all around […] The camera, lighting and audio work are professional and competent. The location is superb with nice little touches to make the dream house not all that it seems to be […] Brett Piper’s effects are the real reason to tune into this movie, and here he does not disappoint.” Smash or Trash

“It’s got elements of Nightmare on Elm Street in how nightmares bleed over into reality, but the dreams are much more Lovecraftian with light surrealism rather than slasher-horror dream-logic […] Good fun dialogue, above-average acting, cheap effects, and nothing great, but not without its charm and fun.” The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre

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