“Dying to Sleep” is a haunting and enigmatic psychological thriller that delves deep into the complexities of family, mental illness, and the quest for redemption.
The film is directed by Paris Dylan who shares writing credits with Patch Moore. Together, they present the viewer with a story that takes you on a suspenseful journey filled with terrifying nightmares, broken relationships, and the pursuit of holistic healing.
While the film has strengths, such as a gripping mystery and emotional depth, it also has its weaknesses, particularly in terms of pacing and character development.
The centre of the film is Mary (played by Sarah Lydia Sophia) a product of a dysfunctional family who is challenged by a mental illness that is causing her to be excessively paranoid and lack sleep. The film’s main plot unfolds a narrative that gradually reveals what seems to be haunting Mary.
It is this element of mystery that adds a layer of suspense that keeps the audience engaged and invested in the story. This turns out to be the biggest strength of “Dying to Sleep“, which is its ability to maintain a sense of mystery and intrigue from start to finish.
The film’s exploration of a dysfunctional family and how they handle a loved one grappling with mental illness is a modern and relevant theme. It delves into the complexities of family dynamics, showcasing how family members can both support and harm one another as they confront their demons. This theme resonates with audiences who may have experienced similar family struggles or have been touched by mental health issues in their own lives.
We see this when Mary is at a birthday dinner with her family. Things get heated and words are exchanged. In the end, her special day is ruined and that takes a toll on her already troubled mental health.
The overall acting in this film is decent. Sophia does a great job in her portrayal of Mary. She shows a confused struggling young lady looking for answers. You can see and feel her fright as much as is necessary to progress the story. Her co-stars equally match up in their performance. Eric Roberts also delivers flawlessly as her psychiatrist with the character Dr. Ted Palmer.
Another thing that works for the film is its ability to deliver unexpected plot twists and resolutions. In the earlier parts of the film, you are led to think that there is some strange monster or something paranormal after Mary. But as the story progresses you are taken down a different path.
Cinematographically, “Dying to Sleep” stands out with its fantastic lighting and shot selection. The visuals enhance the overall atmosphere of the film, creating an eerie and suspenseful ambience that complements the narrative. The use of lighting and shadows adds to the film’s sense of foreboding, making it visually striking.
However, while this film has many strengths, it is not without its weaknesses. One area that could be improved is the film’s pacing. At times, the narrative may feel slightly uneven, with certain scenes moving too quickly, while others linger longer than necessary. A more consistent pacing could have enhanced the overall flow of the story.
The narrative style chosen might seem a bit difficult to understand immediately. You are not exactly sure timeline between events that happen in the film particularly if you are not paying close enough attention.
Without giving away spoilers, it’s safe to say that “Dying to Sleep” provides viewers with thought-provoking and emotionally charged revelations. The search for resolution, particularly from parental figures, adds a layer of depth to the story and leaves a lasting impact.
I will score this film 7/10. For a film that is a blend of drama, mystery and thriller elements, it succeeds at also providing an emotional depth that can’t be ignored. It manages to evoke genuine emotions from you, with some moments that would leave you close to tears.
This emotional connection is a testament to the director’s skill in crafting relatable characters and engaging storytelling. It’s a reminder that horror films can be more than just scares; they can also be vehicles for exploring the depths of human emotions.
In conclusion, “Dying to Sleep” is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged psychological thriller that tackles important themes of family, mental illness, and redemption. However, it shows some cracks, particularly in the pacing and narrative style.
“Dying to Sleep” is a compelling indie film that is sure to leave you reflecting on its themes long after the credits roll.