Dreadful horror movie has language, violence.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Slumber is a horror movie. Every night, an entire family fights off a demon that's trying to kill their youngest son. A child running from an imaginary demon falls out of a window and dies. A child has paralysis and terrors when he sleeps. His chest heaves and his bed moves as if being lifted by an invisible force. He screams but remains immobile. Hand marks are seen on the chest of a small boy. Strangulation marks are seen around a woman's neck. A woman sees her teeth falling out in a mirror. Later she tries to pry them out with a fork. Blood is seen. A man wearing dark glasses describes his fear of sleeping due to night terrors. He tried to cut off his eyelids to keep him awake. Facial scars are shown. A bloody, dead dog is lying next to a little girl who presumably killed him with gardening shears. Expect to hear "f--k," s--t," and "bitch." Old, fuzzy paintings showing demons sitting on sleeping victims' chests also show women's breasts. People who are afraid to fall asleep are given injected tranquilizers to help them.
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What's the Story?
SLUMBER is supposed to be "inspired by real accounts" of people struggling with sleep paralysis and terrors. Alice (Maggie Q) is a sleep therapist who suffers from nightmares stemming from the death of her young brother, Liam (William Rhead), who fell out of a window when he was sleep-walking and running from terrors as a child. She treats Daniel Morgan (Lucas Bond), an 8-year-old boy suffering such terrors, but his whole family wants to spend the night in the lab because all of them are sleepwalking and causing increasingly horrific damage. Mom makes smoothies and nearly severs her hand in the blender. The little girl snips the heads off stuffed toys with garden shears until one night she kills the dog, leaving a trail of blood. The dad strangles Alice when she tries to calm him during a sleep session. The hospital night janitor assures Alice that a demon is the cause of all the sleep disruption, just a routine nasty gnome trying to devour Daniel every night as he sleeps. This info comes from the janitor's grandfather, Amado (Sylvester McCoy), who suffered from the terrors as a boy and wasn't devoured because his sister sacrificed herself to save him. Alice hatches a plan to stop the creature when he attacks that night, but for some unexplained reason, she and the others can only stop it if they're also sleeping. Alice, Daniel, and Daniel's parents inject sedatives to insure quick sleep and the battle ensues. Alice kills the demon, who thanks her. Then she ends up in a mental institution.
Is It Any Good?
Any written description of Slumber is going to make far more sense than the movie does. The movie scarcely moves forward from its initial premise, that both Alice and the family she is treating are being attacked by a sleep demon, a phenomenon for which there's no apparent cure. The filmmakers certainly spent time finding a creepy and metallic horror soundtrack to back even the most benign scenes. Yet they seem to have spent nothing at all on making sense. All four family members are attached to electrodes for their sleep studies, yet they all get up and sleep-walk around freely, without having to detach themselves.
Slumber doesn't even make sense in its final credits: Alice's last name is Arnolds, like her husband Tom's last name. But the credits claim that Liam, her young brother who died in childhood, was named "Liam Arnolds," and that seems about as unlikely as everything else in Slumber. Teens can find much better horror out there.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what makes a scary film enjoyable. Is it only fun if it's a little scary? Why do you think so?
The boy in Slumber is afraid to sleep because he's being attacked by a demon every night, but most of us have bad dreams now and then. Why do you think we have bad dreams? Do you think it's possible that during such dreams our brains are working out things we're scared of?
What's your favorite horror movie? Why? How does this one compare?
- In theaters: December 1, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: January 2, 2018
- Cast: Maggie Q, Will Kemp, Sylvester McCoy, William Hope
- Director: Jonathan Hopkins
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: for some disturbing material, and language
- Last updated: March 16, 2023
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