Feb 19, 2011

In Their Sleep

Having heard only a mutter as to the existence of In Their Sleep, when on the contrary, similar films such as Martyrs and À l'intérieur scream across horror outlets, I found myself wandering into an experience that I'd be woefully revisiting, even after an extended period of rest. Co-starring the ferocious Jean-Hugues Anglade, In Their Sleep primarily banks off the equally intense performances throughout. Having a perpetual fault in predictability, In Their Sleep assures you that being in the know isn't very much different than being blinded. The emotional core is continuously throbbing, allowing scenes to metamorphosize into truly nefarious examples of the French and their increasing lack of apathy towards family life, and that might very well be the shocking secret to their success. In Their Sleep opens with Sarah (Anne Parillaud, La Femme Nikita) dealing with a minor instance of turmoil as her son is upset with their relocation into the country. After pouting for a short amount of time, Sarah brings a tray of desert up to his room, finding only an open window. Assuming he might have snuck out, as I would, you see Sarah shed a slight emotion of panic and briskly walks to the window peering down. What awaits her is her son impaled on several reinforcing bars, gasping and choking on his own blood.

Flash-forward a year later and Sarah is still visibly shaken to the point of societal detachment. Scolded by the head nurse for amping a dosage and near-injuring a patient, Sarah is sent home on leave for several days as to collect her emotional baggage and come to terms with her loss. Things unfortunately spiral into disarray soon after, as we find Sarah hitting a young man with her automobile. Carrying him to her car, it becomes apparent that this boy, roughly the same age as her sons, is fleeing from a maniac. News of this collides with the mention of a burglar on the loose but by this point it's too late. Sarah is ultimately ensnared into a psychotic confrontation between two strangers and their words and pasts violently clashing, testing Sarah's committal of preservation entirely. Not to issue too much of the film's plot away and to preserve the integrity sustained by the cast, especially Arthur Dupont's dark gravitas. In Their Sleep suffers from the very typical mistakes of first time directors. The co-directors, also siblings, Caroline du Potet and Éric du Potet, made sure to craft their film around the basis of minimalistic, yet jarring, violence. This in turn propels In Their Sleep into a film encompassing upsetting scenes of shedding mortality and chastising the all-too vulnerable viewers into a submission.

Since much of In Their Sleep rides the train of suspense/thriller, red herrings are utilized in scenes challenging already cemented perspectives. This will have either two effects on you. You will be genuinely surprised, maybe shocked or you will just get pissed you off. Perhaps I'm being too kind of this film, a film that has done nothing for me but bring to light a feeling of utter melancholy, which soured my mood. But as it stands, In Their Sleep is a very rare breed of film that strafes past the violence and into the consequences of these acts of brutality. You may think to yourself that these acts signify what modern convention has smeared as a "terrible ending" but you'd be shocked at how poetic the finale of In Their Sleep is. A warm feeling spreads through your body with a tune of divine opera fluttering throughout the credits. If not for the violence or the substantial hype most new age French horror collects, see In Their Sleep for that evidence of emotion weaved through each character. The directors have created a film that bleeds as its characters do and mourns as well. In terms of pure psychopathy and the remove of a killer burned onto celluloid, even one as frenzied or empathetic as the culprits, In Their Sleep is a marvel of sick intentions with some of the more disturbing hospitality towards a sleeping family I've seen yet.



The Angry Lurker said...

This sounds like it could be an emotional mind fuck, good review but I'll probably watch Stag Night instead. Sorry.

Soiled Sinema said...