Director: Jason Yu
Cast: Jung Yu-mi, Lee Sun-Kyun
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence & Disturbing Scenes)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 21 September 2023
Synopsis: A pregnant wife who becomes worried about her husband's sleeping habits. What starts out as some light sleep-talking soon escalates to unexpectedly grotesque behaviour. They consult a sleep clinic without success and as his nightmarish behaviour escalates, they desperately seek help from a shaman.
Sleep is but a normal part of everyday life. But what if your partner’s sleep turns out to be so deadly that it affects even the basis of your livelihood? Is it really a disorder or something more?
Sleep is about a young couple, Hyun-Su and Soo-Jin, living a supposedly pleasant life until Hyun-Su starts talking and walking in his sleep, with no recollection of his traumatic- inducing doings the night before and despite seeking professional help, his condition worsens and Soo-Jin ended up being left worried about
Coming to the cinema with not much expectations and not fully comprehending the rather ambiguous trailer, I did not expect myself to be taken on quite a ride. And boy, was I really taken on a ride!
The film started off with what seems like an innocent scene of a young couple having a good night’s sleep and the husband sleep-talking, while the wife wakes up upon a little disturbance. Little would they that it would be the start to all the drama that they will be facing.
The pacing of the film was really good and comfortable. Although it was a little strange that the film was divided into 3 chapters despite only running for slightly more than an hour and a half, it set the tone for the film and give the viewer a clearer idea of what to expect. With each minute, the film gets slightly more and more thrilling and exciting, and one would really feel on the edge with each new development with every minute passing.
The plot was overall simple and linear for comprehension, yet intriguing and complex enough to give some sort of excitement. There were, however, quite a bit of loopholes that although were not too major to disrupt the film entirely, felt a little suspicious and possibly confusing to the viewer, creating a few scenes that were questionable and possibly not too realistic. It does feel like not much was fully explained at some point in time.
There were small minute parts in the film that were ambiguous. It feels like some of the nuances of Korean culture was not fully explained and might lead to one feeling a little lost, although overall it did not entirely affect the experience of the film.
The character development between the 2 leads is strong and evident, and also extremely interesting, how their relationship started off very well and sweet, and then ended very shaky and uneasy. Not much is known about the other characters and despite them not playing a major role in this film, one cannot help but feel that they might have contributed in the explanation of some of the loopholes in the film.
Despite that, the cast did well in their delivery and performance, giving believable emotions laced with conviction.
It is also amazing how about 60% of the film was filmed within the house and how despite that, each scene seems more and more exciting and how the cinematography creates the moment is quite an achievement on its own.
All in all, Sleep, despite its possibly predictable ending (and yet underwhelming ‘conclusion) and slightly questionable plot, gives the right amount of thrills and excitement throughout the 1 hour 35 minutes of its run and induces the right amount of emotions for the ride.
It may left you slightly puzzled at some point in time, but at least you would still be able to sleep after the film has concluded, just like how the female protagonist can finally sleep well after sorting out her husband’s sleeping issue.
(A well-paced film with the right amount of thrills and shocks. Not the most conclusive of films, but definitely one that will keep you on the edge)
Review by Ron Tan