Brit horror The Sleeping Room has some good atmosphere woven into its tight running time (it clocks in at just 77 minutes). It might be silly as hell but there’s an air of freshness to this John Shackleton directed fright piece.
Leila Mimmack is Blue, a prostitute working in Brighton. The call of a new client called Bill (Joseph Beattie) takes her to a crumbling building that’s haunthoed by past terrors. Blue develops a fascination with the old building and Bill but both these things could lead to her demise.
Director Shackleton’s cinematic ace for The Sleeping Room is the Brighton setting. There’s an eerie bleakness to the wind-swept location that adds a lonely solidarity to the onscreen action. Few films have utilised the haunting emptiness of Britain’s seaside towns and Shackleton uses it to his full advantage. This is a low budget piece set in a relatively cramped location and the use of the sea front opens it up and gives it some scope, while he uses its Victorian history as a way of developing an engaging premise.
The Sleeping Room has some good tension in its first portion, with some unsettling moments hitting the spot. It looks like Shackleton is going to deliver some serious psychological horror but the last act turns things into your standard house of horrors chase sequence. It’s handled well enough but it betrays the well honed creepiness of the set-up.
Everyone’s fine, if a little unspectacular on a performance level. Leila Mimmack makes for an engaging enough lead, while Joseph Beattie does a decent turn showing quiet confusion. David Sibley’s never quite sells his role as the fearless pimp, while Julie Graham’s ageing Madam is a bit one note.
A stylish and well developed horror, The Sleeping Room delivers some interesting ideas. It’s set-up is much better than the pay-off but that doesn’t stop it from being a good little horror.
The Sleeping Room DVD comes with a solid bunch of extras . There’s a short but informative behind the scenes piece and an interesting feature on the film’s visual effects. There’s a Frightfest interview with John Shackleton, a trailer and 6th Sense, a short film starring Julie Graham.