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Old 10-05-2004, 08:09 PM
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Default Sleepwalkers




Reviewer: Jeremy
Review Date: April 19, 2001

Released by: Columbia Tri-Star
Release date: January 16, 2001
MSRP: $24.95
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes | P&S: Yes (Same side of disc)



The Story

inline Image There's a new boy in the small town of Travis, Indiana, and he's creating quite an impression. Charles Brady (Brian Krause), an impossibly charming and charismatic teenager, has already put a of the girls at the local high school under his spell. However, Charles isn't looking for romance, he's looking for food. It seems that he and his mother Mary (Alice Krige), who get their sexual satisfaction from each other, aren't humans beings, they're Sleepwalkers, a race of part-human, part-cat nomadic creatures who feed off the life-forces of human virgins. Obviously, this somewhat restricts their eating habits, especially in modern-day America. The only weakness their race suffers from is the scratch of the common cat, which is potentially fatal for them.

inline ImageCharles has already picked out his first target, Tanya Robertson (Mädchen Amick), a sweet - and pure - high school girl whom he meets at the movies. He charms her again in English class with his sad and strangely poetic story about the pain of being alone, although the story does raise the suspicion of Mr. Fallows (Glenn Shadix), his teacher. Tanya accepts a ride home from him that afternoon, and she shows him her room, and some of the photographs she's taken of the area, which is a hobby of hers. After Charles expresses interest in seeing how she works, she invites him to go along with her to a local cemetery the next afternoon where she's planning on shooting.

inline Image Unfortunately, on his way home from Tanya's, Charles runs into a little bit of trouble. First, Mr. Fallows forces him off the road and confronts the boy, telling him that he's found out that his transcripts are faked and the town that he supposedly moved from doesn't even exist. Not to be trifled with, Charles rips off his hand and then kills him, dumping the body in the woods. Next, Charles gets into a high-speed chase with a sheriff's deputy (Dan Martin), and during the pursuit he nearly runs over a little girl getting off the school bus. He eventually manages to get ahead of the deputy and pull off the road, where he uses his supernatural powers to make him and his car invisible. The lawman gives up the chase when he can't find the boy, but his cat Clovis, who's sitting in the front seat of his cruiser, is still able to see the kid. After the deputy goes away, Charles makes himself visible again, but uses his powers to temporarily disguise the car as a different model and color.

inline Image The next day, Charles visits the cemetery with Tanya, and after some fooling around, they begin to make out. Suddenly, he starts draining the life force from her, but she resists and fights back. The girl bashes him over the head with her camera and tries to gouge out his eye with a bottle opener, but he proves to be impervious to her attacks. She runs to the roadside, where the deputy who chased Charles the other day is waiting, having noticed his car as he was driving by. Unfortunately, Charles kills the deputy, but before he can do Tanya in, Clovis attacks and badly injures him. Charles manages to make it home, where his mother realizes that he dying. His only hope for survival is to finish feeding off Tanya's life force, and she realizes she has to find Tanya and finish off the job. Meanwhile, the neighborhood cats, realizing the monsters in their midst, prepare to strike back...

inline Image Although it's not the worst Stephen King adaptation out there, Sleepwalkers is nevertheless quite disappointing. The biggest problem with the movie is it's script, written by King himself, which leaves a lot of questions unanswered and eventually becomes more amusing than anything else. One of the biggest mistakes made by the script is that it just glosses over the whole mythology of the Sleepwalker race, which is in area that is just begging to be explored. Who the Sleepwalkers are, where they come from and what powers they possess are only vaguely explained or shown. It's really not full explained why common cats are so dangerous to them, and the relationship between Charles and his mother is also underdeveloped. The story also starts to get very silly towards the end, and the climax, where Charles and his mother reveal their true physical forms to be that of cats themselves, is more funny than scary.

It's a pity that all these problems plague the movie, because it could have been quite good. Even now it's still a passable film, with some decent acting (especially from Alice Krige and Brain Krause) and an unusually high number of gore effects, considering that this was a major studio production. But like many Stephen King adaptations unfortunately, this one is mixed bag.

Image Quality

Sleepwalkers is presented letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. This is a good transfer overall, with a nice level of detail and an almost perfectly saturated color scheme. There is some light grain and haze present and a few more specks noticeable than there should be, but otherwise I would be hard-pressed to tell that this was a movie made nearly ten years ago. The transfer is definitely superior work, which is pretty much the norm for Columbia Tristar.

A Pan & Scan transfer of the film is also available on the disc.

Sound

The soundtrack is in Dolby 2.0 Surround. This is a very nice track, with punchy sound and good directional effects, several of which had me jumping out of my seat. No distortion was evident. There are also 2.0 Surround tracks available in Spanish and French, as well as English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai subtitles.

Supplemental Material

inline Image There really isn't anything in the way of supplemental material here. You get some talent bios, and there are trailers for The Tingler, Savini's Night of the Living Dead remake, Johnny Mnemonic, Screamers and I Know What You Did Last Summer, but no trailer for this film, strangely enough.

Final Thoughts

Sleepwalkers is a disappointing movie that had the potential to be much better than it turned out, although it's still a watchable film. As usual, Columbia Tristar has done excellent work on this release, and despite the lack of supplements, this disc is still a very good purchase for anybody who enjoys the movie.

Rating

Movie - C
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - C

Technical Info.
  • Running Time - 1 hour 29 minutes
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 28 Chapter Stops
  • English 2.0 Surround
  • French 2.0 Surround
  • Spanish 2.0 Surround
  • English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese and Thai subtitles
Supplements
  • Talent bios
  • Theatrical trailers

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