Sunday, August 14, 2016

Review: The Sleeper

The 80s were the heyday of the slasher film. The subgenre WAS horror, at least for the better part of that decade, with few ghost or vampire stories in sight. And for every Halloween or Friday the 13th sequel, there were a dozen cheaply made knockoffs to cash in on the better flicks' popularity.

Justin Russell's The Sleeper is a tribute to those 80s slasher films. Made in 2012 on a $30,000 budget, he's lovingly crafted a period piece set in 1981, where a crazed killer sets his sights -- in this case his hammer -- on the hot chicks living in a small town sorority house.

Has Russell pulled off a modern day Halloween, or stabbed closer to The Prey? Stick with me!

How much you love 80s slasher films determines your enjoyment of The Sleeper. The nostalgia factor is what hooked me. The film, for the most part anyway, looks like those low-budget genre films from the era. Ditto the bad acting -- I sure hope they meant the performances to be this awful -- and gory effects.

The music by Gremlin? Spot on! It's somewhere between Carpenter's Halloween score and the music from Black Christmas. Sure, these were 70s slasher movies, but they set the stage for the 80s cheapos. In fact, Russell drew a lot of inspiration from these two films, much like the filmmakers from the 80s did. So it works.

Kick the nostalgia to the curb, and you've got a pretty standard slasher movie, and a cheaply made one by modern standards. Like I said, if you like vintage 80s slashers, you'll have a good time. If you don't, stay away.

Fortunately I like them enough, and dug the nostalgia Russell infused The Sleeper with, to enjoy my viewing. I doubt I'll see it again, so it's a Bad, but I still had a good enough time with it.

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