When Angels Sleep

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
When Angels Sleep Movie Poster Image
Dark crime drama has drug use, brutal violence, swearing.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When people make mistakes, it's best to admit them rather than to excuse and justify them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

German is the poster child for bad judgment. Having already missed his daughter's birthday party, he chooses not to stay put, rest, and drive home safely the next day. Instead, he risks the lives of others, even after falling asleep at the wheel the first time. He lies repeatedly, trying to evade responsibility for the accident he caused. A witness tells him he has to pay for his crime, and he tells her she will be well compensated by his insurance company if she keeps quiet.   


A teenage girl screams at her parents before leaving the house without their permission. In a car with her girlfriend and two older guys, she has to fight off one who tries to have sex with her. He's high on coke and becomes so angry he wants to go after her when she runs away. A sleeping driver hits a girl on a dark road and kills her. Blood is seen. He chases her friend by car and on foot to keep her from going to the authorities. She stabs him. She falls and impales herself on a piece of wood. She cuts the driver with broken glass and brings down a bookcase on him. The driver strangles her using his tie. A man beats a girl to death with a rock. Two guys high on cocaine are asked by police if they are okay. One assaults the cop before driving away. A car chase ensues.


A teen has sex in the front seat of a car with a slightly older guy. No nudity is seen. 


"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "d--k," "screw," "suck," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink alcohol. People snort cocaine, including teens.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that When Angels Sleep is a gritty crime drama with horror elements. A hapless executive falls asleep at the wheel and kills a girl. He follows that act of irresponsible stupidity with many more, leading to lies, violence, and criminal acts that can't be politely walked back. Drug use is shown, including by teens. Teens drink alcohol as well. Teens have sex without nudity, and language includes "f--k," "s--t," ass," "d--k," and "bitch." There are stabbings, impalements, strangulations, and brutal beatings.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAlijee74 January 10, 2019

Where do you all find these actors?

Honestly I didn’t even watch all of it because the actors suck. The movie In my opinion would have been better if you had better actors and also if it’s more re... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

WHEN ANGELS SLEEP begins as German (Julian Villagran), a spineless mid-level executive, misses his young daughter's birthday party and is rebuked by his impatient wife. He decides to drive home as quickly as possible, through the night, falling asleep at the wheel. The police pull him over and compassionately bring him to a motel. Instead of sleeping there, he gets back on the road, falls asleep again, and kills a drunken teenager. Her friend, Sylvia (Marian Alvarez), runs from him, thinking he drove into her friend on purpose. German lies repeatedly, at first trying to blame another driver for the fatality. Afraid the girl will report him and ruin his life, he chases her, which scares her. Their encounters become increasingly violent as she's convinced he wants to kill her, too.

Is it any good?

This drama/horror movie will tax anyone's tolerance for watching stupid people struggle with their stupidity. There may indeed be humans capable of making this many bad decisions one after the other, but it would be hard to make the case for watching a movie about them. Teens may recognize that their peers often need to work on the quality of their judgments, but here adults win the Worst Decision Possible awards repeatedly. The resentful wife pressures her over-tired husband to drive through the night. He keeps driving after the first time he falls asleep, even after being stopped by the police. The police make the wrong choice, too. And the girl who fears for her life might best conceal her plan to put the driver in jail, at least until after he delivers her to a safe hospital, rather than giving him reason to off her.

Most disturbing of all, the movie makes the cynical case that the privileged can get away with shockingly self-serving and antisocial behavior despite illusions that they are "good people." Having said all of this, Villagran gives a ferocious performance as a weak, crazed, irresponsible man who, until the last possible moment, maintains that everyone should see this horrific, indefensible story from his selfish point of view.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what is the best thing to do when you make a mistake. What do you think German's punishment would have been in When Angels Sleep if he'd turned himself in right after hitting the girl? How do you think that would compare to proper punishment for all the damage he later did after that first terrible act?

  • Gloria made a poor decision that ultimately ended in her death. How could she have handled her dispute with her parents better?

  • Do you think we are all responsible for our own fates? Do you think people think far enough ahead when they make seemingly unimportant decisions?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate