• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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TITLE: Parasomnia

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Horror

There is a saying that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” and this is the perception that many independent film producers and directors may have. It is easy to see the glitz and glamour that is associated with big budget Hollywood, but before fame and fortune there is usually sweat, tears, and creative compromise to investors and producers. William Malone is a director that started financing his own independent productions, directed a few Hollywood films, and ended up going back to the independent film world. Malone started his career through self-financing the 1981 Alien rip-off Scared To Death and the 1985 sci-fi/horror film Creature starring Klaus Kinski before venturing out into Hollywood big budget films such as the re-makes of House On Haunted Hill (1999) and FearDotCom (2002). Bucking the trend, Malone returned to independent film making and created the surprisingly good Parasomnia, a creative horror offering that is dream-like in structure and substance.

Local art student Danny Sloan (played by Dylan Purcell) goes to the local hospital to visit his friend Billy (Dov Tioefenbach) who has been committed for drug rehabilitation. While there Billy encourages Danny to check out the psych ward which has a psychopathic killer named Byron Volpe (Patrick Kilpatrick) who has a unique power of hypnotism and can kill his victims by forcing them to kill other people and commit suicide through mental manipulation. While there Danny discovers Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson), an inmate who has a unique condition called parasomnia which causes the victim to spend most of their lives asleep. Danny ends up visiting her and inexplicably falls in love with her, but Laura’s child-like innocence has also attracted the attention of Volpe as he sees her as a pawn for his own Machiavellian intentions. Danny helps Laura escape the hospital and Volpe’s clutches, but the psycho killer also escapes the hospital to chase down the sleeping beauty to make him his pawn.

Parasomnia has some great ideas in the film. First of all the concept and storyline is genuinely unique although at times it does come across as romantically sappy and a bit unrealistic as Danny is more or less in love with a doll with very little knowledge of the real world. There are several dream sequences influenced by the artwork of surrealist Zdziskaw Beksinski, and they are presented quite well and look fantastic. The climax scene in an abandoned building which resemble collaboration between The Joker and Jigsaw from Saw if they wanted their own twisted symphony orchestra is nightmarish in orientation and crafted well. Some of the acting is sketchy at times but the highlight is Kilpatrick who does his best Hannibal Lecter impersonation with a few twists of his own to make the character uniquely his own. The cameo by Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator) is fun and entertaining, but another cameo from legendary director John Landis as a furniture store manager was a waste and missed the mark. The blood and gore effects by famed splatter moister Greg Nicotero (Land Of The Dead, Hostel) are excellent as would be expected from one of the very best in the field although nothing was especially creative or groundbreaking.

Malone had a hard time finding the financing for this project so he re-financed his own home and worked other jobs in order to be able to make Parasomnia. The film was finished in 2008 but took a couple years to find an appropriate distributor. Parasomnia is a bit unique compared to most independent offerings and it does offer some creative thrills at times. The object here is a fairly imaginative approach to an unorthodox story, and Parasomnia does deliver in that respect. This film is nothing  to re-write the horror history books but it does deliver a better than average offering that is worth a viewing for adventurous horror fans who are sick and tired of the same old, same old.

* * * 1/2



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