4 September 2009 | Doylenf
Calling all cats...hurry, hurry to the scene of the crime...
SLEEPWALKERS starts out promisingly enough to be a creepy tale about a mother and son vampire team--needlessly involved in an incestuous relationship--played by BRIAN KRAUSE and ALICE KRIGE. These two handle their roles extremely well and the creepy atmosphere of the story makes you believe you're in for a good Stephen King thriller about a small town about to be devastated by vampires seeking nourishment.
There's even a pretty girl (MADCHEN AMICK) who flirts with the new boy in town, first at the movie theater where she works and then at high school--and these three characters carry the first part of the film nicely. You start to wonder whether the girl is going to be an easy victim of the mother and son team or whether she'll fight them off.
But as the plot thickens, so does the absurdity of the whole thing, all directed in comic book style so that none of the characters have any dimension beyond being puppets in a horror story that is so grotesque and over-the-top, particularly in the last half-hour, that you'll wonder whether a sane hand had any part in these proceedings. All of the business involving a menagerie of cats that sit on the couple's front lawn becomes laughable before the story uses them in a way that lacks any credibility at all.
To be fair, there are some scenes that do hold the interest, usually because a quirky supporting character, such as the black cop with his trusty traveling companion Clovis (a cat), provides some much needed humor--but those moments are few and far between. And any attempt to provide humor by having Stephen King play an obnoxious local man seeking help from a sheriff, fails utterly to do anything but convince the viewer that King should leave bit roles to professionals.
Whatever potential it had as a thriller is diminished by the outlandish ending which has Alice Krige losing her marbles completely. She hasn't had an eerier role since she played the girl who came back to life to haunt men in GHOST STORY ('82). But as good as she is, she can't save a trashy horror film from looking absurd.