The Sleeper wanted to strongly look and feel like an early 80's film
and in my view failed to achieve this for the reasons below:
The opening shot/credit scene was actually well done and had some added visual noise effects and this in turn DID give the film the look and feel of something I would have seen on VHS back in those early days of the 80's. However, after the main credits are over it changes and not for the better. One reviewer summed it up in saying the film quality looks too "polished". It clearly was shot on some sort of digital film and no further noise or "grindhouse" look was added. In turn what this did is present the film in the era and style that this strongly gives the impression ofâ€”an early 1990s indie feature. Everything from the shot setups and angles to the acting screamed of 1990s indie. This is not entirely a bad thing mind you, but clearly a long shot from the 80's feel this wanted to be. In fact had the opening cue card read "1991" instead of "1981" it would have worked better.
The director/writers also blatantly have a strong love for the 1970's film Black Christmas (as do I), as many similar shots, scenery and score music are almost copied from that film
In the end I cannot say this is the worst thing I have seen, but definitely far from the best and far from what I was hoping it would be. The film is screaming for a fan edit as some of the subtle changes that you could do would fix the film immensely (such as never showing the killer's face, it would have been much better had his face been hiding in the shadows or even wearing a mask), etc and so on.
I think what is actually working for the film is the nice DVD and VHS combo package they offer. The cover art is great and just for that fact alone might be worth the purchase for those VHS collectors still out there
UPDATE::::A short time back I had written a review for this film (which you just read above). I also bought the DVD/VHS combo box for it. At that time I had not watched the VHS version and I just want to say now I wish I did.
Most of the issues aside from the script and such revolved around the film looking too polished and clean. It was obvious that going by the DVD/VHS combo box art work as well as the opening credits for the film that they wanted the viewer to have that "old film on VHS look". This is where that tape comes in. The VHS tape version that comes with this is BEAUITFULLY rendered and amazingly emulates an old VHS tape. This is not grindhouse type of effects, but rather actual old analog tape noise and wear that you would normally see on older/highly rented VHS tape. From the slight color bleeding to the white lines that go across the screen, as well as the pan/scan picture that you could tell came from a widescreen print. THIS IS HOW the intent of what they were trying to do really came across and it did not detract from the film, but rather added to it. I enjoyed the film much more than before. In fact it was done so well that you could no longer tell the movie was shot on digital, but more so resembles actual film. That format view works very well for the overall presentation. Also (and ironically) switching the sound from hi-fi stereo to mono really made the levels jump (usually it is the opposite) and it blended in everything perfectly.
WHY OH WHY the makers of the film did not choose to release this as the final version for the DVD is beyond me. The perfect looking clean cut that is used for the DVD really does no justice for the film at all. It was more so like a pre-final release and the VHS version being what the film should have been. So if you did not like the film, but do have access to the VHS version, I would say give the film another chance and watch that edition instead. It really makes a wonderful jump in the end and for the better
It's 1981 and the girls of Alpha Gamma Theta sorority are having a party. As the new pledges arrive, so does an uninvited guest. Little do the sisters know someone is watching them in the shadows. As the girls shower, study, eat and sleep the stalker studies the girls. One by one he finds the girls at their most vulnerable and murders them. The police hunt for the missing girls and their killer, but will they find them in time? Or will the girls be forced to fight for their lives...
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June 20, 2016 at 10:12 AM