The opening scene sets a tone; it’s almost like a promise of the kind of film Sleep (Schlaf) is going to be. It’s mundane and simple, until it’s not. Immediately the slightly askew has its claws dug and the viewer isn’t five minutes in.
It’s not long before the mysteries of the story begin to fuel this oddity, all set on the landscape of a lovely little town; the view’s narrowed and placed in a pleasant hotel. There’s a strained mother-daughter relationship that makes it easy to feel for both characters, pushing aside the impossible for real emotional responses. The camera work is active, imaginative, jerking the viewer at the story’s whims. You’re treated to scariness, and peculiarity, and a whole host of artsy displays. The use of animals is strange and fantastic—nightmare fuel to go along with a nightmare demon out for blood. The townsfolk are selfish and self-serving in that way that seems not only believable, but likely. It’s hard to say much about the acting; that this one’s in German means everything beyond tone and expressions are pretty well lost to the language barrier, but it all seems good.
This one is violent at times, claustrophobic at others. It’s easy to root for the right side and it’s not always easy to see who is on the wrong side. Sleep is a high-quality horror film I chanced upon as an Apple rental (was only $0.99 a week ago when I put it in the queue) and am totally glad I did. Excellent stuff.
Find out more on IMDB.