THE SLEEP EXPERIMENT (2022) Reviews of Irish horror

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‘What if reality became your nightmare?’
The Sleep Experiment is a 2022 Irish horror film about two detectives investigating an experiment in which prisoners were kept awake for thirty days.

Written, produced, directed and edited by John Farrelly (An Taibhse; The Lost Jedi).Executive produced by Cormac Fox and Tom Kerrisk.

The Jackpot Films production stars Barry John Kinsella, Gwynne McElveen, Anthony Murphy, Sam McGovern, Rob Earley, Tom Kerrisk, Moya Farrelly, Owen Colgan, Rob McCarthy, Rachel Walshe, Brian Moore, Will Murphy, Amy Sanfey, Steven Jess, Rob James Capel, James Penderville and Paul Fitzgerald.

Plot synopsis:
Two detectives begin investigating the ethics involved in the top-secret British research facility, Porton Down. One particular experiment stands out to them as the most horrific, The Sleep Experiment, a scientific experiment that took place during the Cold War.


The experiment consisted of five prisoners, deemed to be enemies of the state, being locked in a sealed gas chamber. An airborne stimulant was continually administered to keep the subjects awake for thirty consecutive days. The prisoners were falsely promised that they would be set free from prison if they completed the experiment…


“It misses out on a real or sincere note, everything feels overly composed and structured, which undermines the tone and atmosphere needed to drive home this story. It’s the same case for most of the cast and it sadly just falls into too many stereotypes for this to work. It’s disappointing as there’s a decent crime story at its foundation, with a potentially complex antagonist but neither are done justice.” 4 out of 10, Film Carnage

“The performances are, unfortunately, a particularly sore spot. They are largely stilted and awkward. Actors often have difficulty connecting the characters to the overarching – and loose – themes. The performers sometimes seem to disagree with their dialog – their connection to it is almost nonsensical.” 1.5 out of 5, Maddwolf

” …we see some horrific imagery that only makes things more difficult to watch. Giving the viewer an uncomfortable viewing experience while with the candidates. The Sleep Experiment is an uncomfortable, disturbing psychological horror.” 3 out of 5, Movie Reviews 101

“How far could you be pushed when you have no choice? That’s what we see here, a deeper dive into what makes humans tick. At times the pacing of the film seemed to suffer a bit in an attempt to show the passage of time. Overall, though, it was a compelling psychological thriller with some hints of the horror genre.” 3.5 out of 5, Overly Honest Movie Reviews

The Sleep Experiment may fudge the landing slightly, but I was captivated throughout due to the dangling plot threads hanging about the film. I loved the back and forth between past and present, and thought, in general, this was a well-paced film that achieved a lingering feel of mystery over its run time.” 7 out of 10, The Rotting Zombie

The Sleep Experiment takes advantage of its limited sets, creating a sense of claustrophobia […] While I was a little let down by its final reveal, it’s fairly obvious for most of the film, The Sleep Experiment did what it was intended to do, get under my skin. It’s not an overly frightening film, Farrelly is more interested in disturbing viewers than making them jump. And he does a damn good job of it.” 4 out of 5, Voices from the Balcony

The Sleep Experiment will be released On-Demand (VOD) in the USA and Canada on November 1, 2022. Rent or buy via Amazon Prime

A teaser trailer for The Sleep Experiment was posted online on September 16, 2018, and we originally posted an advance overview of the movie on September 26, 2018.


Filming locations:
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland


THE SOVIET SLEEP EXPERIMENT (2019) Review of sleep-deprivation horror


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