This year is shaping up to be a good one for horror, particularly on the festival circuit. Things kicked off nice and early at Sundance with the impressive quartet of Birth/Rebirth, Talk To Me, In My Mother’s Skin, and Infinity Pool. This month at TIFF, meanwhile, I watched another four movies that each add something interesting to the genre. What’s most impressive about these films is how, when combined, they really show off the breadth of what’s possible under the horror banner. You’ll wince and cover your eyes, but you’ll also laugh.
Sleep is the first feature from director Jason Yu, and it really taps into a common fear: namely, that something absolutely awful is going to happen when you’re sleepwalking.
It follows a young couple — played by Jung Yu-mi (from Train to Busan) and Lee Sun-kyun (Parasite and the Apple TV Plus series Dr. Brain) — who live in a cozy apartment with their little Pomeranian and are preparing for the arrival of their first child.
But the husband has a sleep disorder that causes him to sleepwalk in the evenings, and it’s getting progressively worse. And when I say worse, I mean going from slightly disturbing — like scratching his face or eating raw meat from the fridge — to downright dangerous, possibly involving some kind of demonic possession.
What makes Sleep work so well, though, is how it manages to balance its building sense of terror with a surprisingly playful sense of humor.
Unfortunately, Sleep doesn’t have a wider theatrical release date just yet, but given the early buzz, it probably won’t be too long now.
When Evil Lurks
Speaking of demonic possession, When Evil Lurks — from Argentinian writer and director Demián Rugna — is a gruesome look at what happens when a supernatural plague sweeps its way through a small farming community. It starts with one man, ravaged by the sickness, whose family has been keeping it a secret until a Cleaner can come help. Those afflicted with the plague, it turns out, have to be killed in a very specific way, or else things turn, well, even worse.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.