Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Marcus Turner (Phillip Winchester) has an issue. You see Marcus is a ladies’ man the likes the world has ever seen. All Marcus has to do is brush up against a woman and this woman is pretty much his for the night to do with as he pleases. But here’s his issue, for Marcus is a parasomniac. Marcus sleepwalks and he does stuff when he sleep walks like drive and hang out at graveyards but mostly… Marcus has sex with even more women when he sleepwalks. So here’s a guy who gets more ass than any man can realistically handle, and when he goes to sleep he gets even more ass. That’s… awesome. Until people start dying then it becomes a little bit less awesome in this little thriller ‘In My Sleep’ which seems to be a valiant attempt at channeling the ghosts of Argento and Bava, even though they aren’t dead yet.

The problems for Marcus really begin when he sleep-sexes his best friend’s wife. The next morning Marcus is completely disgusted with himself despite the fact the wife (Kelly Overton) is telling him these stories about how her marriage sucks and how they’ve been trying to get pregnant and the loving is all mechanical and stuff. What all of that has to do with laying down with your husband’s best friend beats me, but there it is. Nonetheless Marcus and Ann decide to keep this little tryst to themselves as not to hurt Justin (Tim Draxl) the best friend, not that any of this is going to keep Ann from showing up all stabbed up by the beach a few weeks later. This little matter is complicated by Marcus waking up that particular morning, slathered in blood with a bloody knife lying on the floor. Surely Marcus didn’t sleep-murder this woman did he?

Investigating this crime is hardcore cop Detective Curwen (Amy Aquino) who speaks in roasted nut analogies. I believe we caught the sunflower seed and pistachio references, but with that kind of fertile ground, writer/director Allen Wolf probably could’ve done even more with that. Red Pistachio’s… you carefully crack them open but your hands are still covered in red! Pecans… you try to gently coerce them into opening, until out of frustration you just smash them with a blunt force object!Detective Curwen and her roasted nut analogies will not be solving this case anytime soon.

Anyway, Marcus has a pesky neighbor upstairs (Lacey Chabert) who is way too helpful, he has a mother across town (Beth Grant) who can’t stand the sight of him, he has met a very nice lady in his sex addiction classes (Abigail Spencer) whose really not all that nice and there is the small issue of some strange woman who keeps calling his cell and harassing him. All of this nonsense seems to lead back to a tragic event back in the day surrounding Marcus and his father. Rest assured that somehow, someway, Marcus will get to the bottom of this and the chances are he will not be wearing a shirt when he does.

One thing I got out of this movie is that actor Phillip Winchester obviously works out a lot. If you think for just a split second that you might be a fan of Phillip Winchester then ‘In My Sleep’ is a movie you need to own. One would like to think, that is if one likes to look at nearly naked women, that a thriller about a man with a sex addiction would feature a lot of nearly naked women, but instead what we got was a lot of nearly naked Phillip Winchester.

So let’s assume that Phillip Winchester’s physique is of no concern to you, as it was of no concern to me, and the content of this film is your only worry, in which case you will get a mixed bag of a lot of stuff. As we mentioned earlier, the style of the film feels like that of an old Italian Giallo thriller with the psychological elements, the omnipresent bloody knife, the occasional red herring, the confused hero and the tough, suspicious cop. The Roasted Nut references were completely original however. Unfortunately the cast and crew simply didn’t have the skill to effectively pull this off. The mystery aspects were undercooked since we had a pretty good idea who our villain was in this piece, the red herrings were disappointing and the different aspects didn’t tie themselves together very well. Ideally in a film like this, when it’s all said and done, you would like to see all of the different elements cleverly linked together in some significant way which will give you the boffo moment of revelation, but that moment never came with ‘In My Sleep’.

That being said, it’s not like ‘In My Sleep’ was an unwatchable movie, not by any means. Phillip Winchester, on the rare occasion he kept his shirt on, was solid in this movie and he moved the story along, even though the overall acting performances were certainly not a strength of this film. Sure, we thought the mystery was giveaway, but it wasn’t a dead-giveaway so for some there still might be a surprise or two, and there was an Alexandra Paul sighting. Gotta love that.

The concept of sleep-sexing and sleep-murdering was an interesting one, and Allen Wolf’s film did have some potential, but the story they were telling us needed to be a little tighter to elevate itself from what we got, that being a story that involved watching some good looking Southern Californians behaving badly. That’s what The WB is for.

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