THE SLEEPING ROOM (2014) Reviews and overview

 

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‘Don’t wake it’

The Sleeping Room is a 2014 British horror film directed by John Shackleton from a screenplay co-written with Alex Chandon and Ross Jameson. The Movie Mogul Films production stars Leila Mimmack, Joseph Beattie and Christopher Adamson.

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Plot:

Blue (Leila Mimmack) is a call girl working out of Brighton. She has been sent out to an old building that Bill (Joseph Beattie) is trying to restore. She’s somewhat surprised when he shows little interest in getting down to business, but ends up staying in the house with him since he has paid for her time.

As she is looking around, Blue discovers a Mutoscope (an early motion picture device), through which she sees a series of moving images depicting a hooded man (Christopher Adamson). Shortly after that, Blue and Bill discover a secret room that is the key to unlocking many dark and terrifying secrets relating to Blue’s family and the death of her mother…

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

The Sleeping Room features some impressive performances from both the younger and more established actors. The plot’s fairly slight but is handled well by Shackleton, and whilst the scares and tension are hardly overflowing, The Sleeping Room is still an impressive entry into the modern British horror canon.” Backseat Mafia

It’s a slow burner that relies on brooding atmospherics and a growing sense of dread fuelled by throwbacks to the dark side of the Victorian seaside resort’s long-forgotten history. Shot out of season there’s a rainy, end of the road feeling that permeates Blue’s search for answers and the need to escape the chains of her past, Bill’s alter ego and ultimately from this town for good.” Britflicks

” …big on atmosphere but low on budget and plot cohesion. Someone must have been doing their homework to know that Brighton was a kind of mini Hollywood in the early days of film and the sense of place is well established. But unfortunately, it’s all a bit silly and while the performances are earnest they’re also rather dull.” Dark Eyes of London

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“What really shines through is the sheer pace and bare-boned narrative efficiency, which represents both the film’s most idiosyncratic strength and its deepest flaw. While this breakneck pace never allows the viewer’s attention to meander from the plot’s unstoppable trajectory, it also leaves certain story elements somewhat underdeveloped…” Exquisite Terror

“While The Sleeping Room does a lot of good with its setting, imagery and direction, it does let itself down in other areas, the biggest problem being the lack of budget. The short running time works in its favour as it doesn’t outstay its welcome but the decline of the script into cliché in the final act and the cop-out ending suggest that things were rushed to get the film wrapped…” Flickering Myth

“The set design of the house in the film is fantastic and is enough to give you nightmares. The only pitfall is the development of the story. A longer running time with a slower-burn would work much better, I feel, with key plot details drip-fed rather than splurged in scenes. With great performances from all involved, The Sleeping Room is one eerie British horror worth checking out.” Love Horror

The Sleeping Room deals with interesting themes such as confronting the past in order to move on with the future and plays as a metaphor for self-discovery. The lack of opportunities for the younger generation is underlined within the film, a major problem that represents the state of Britain today adding further realism amongst the more fantastical elements notably with Blue and Glenny characterisation.” Love Horror

“Making the most of its Brighton location, with some gorgeous tracking shots of the town, including a couple that were apparently captured using drone-like flying devices, there’s a real feeling of “kitchen-sink drama” to The Sleeping Room – which only works in the films favour: helping to keep the characters and events grounded in reality whilst all the supernatural ‘craziness’ goes on.” Nerdly

“Plausibility is my issue with the film which pulls it from the heights of unabashed acclaim; Blue, for example, has to be the most wholesome hooker imaginable, while her client, Bill, is similarly clean-cut […] The script sticks a bit too with key moments of exposition delivered in a muddled and cluttered way…” The Schlock Pit

“If you appreciate a fair bit of supernatural next to a storyline rooted in the real horrors of human deviations, all with a tinge of gothic Victorian macabre, you will enjoy The Sleeping Room. Discovering another Brighton is a welcome plus.” Sonic Shocks

Notes:

Funding for The Sleeping Room was raised using equity crowdfunding and the film is apparently credited as being the first British film to use this method.

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Cast and characters:

Julie Graham … Cynthia
Christopher Adamson … Fiskin
Leila Mimmack … Blue
Joseph Beattie … Bill
David Sibley … Freddie
Chris Waller … Glenny
Mike Altmann … Jim Whipps
Lucy Clements … Helena
Billy Chainsaw … Neighbour
Barry Kristopher Sullivan … TV presenter
Nicola Colmer … TV presenter
Chrisanthe Grech … Librarian
Antonia Northam … Abigail

Filming locations:

Brighton, East Sussex, England

Technical details:

78 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA comment and rating:

This has to be the most implausible call-girl racket on film with a leading lady whose investigative inclinations into vintage “snuff films” beggar belief. Despite some ropey acting, at least The Sleeping Room has a few amiable characters, a few very minor frissons and an agreeably short running time.

Some overly-adulatory contemporary reviews reveal more about the desire of some writers to resurrect British horror than a serious consideration of the merits of The Sleeping Room itself. Director John Shakleton’s subsequent work has all been on mindless TV series drivel such as Royal Recipes.