Today’s entry is a little-known piece from the UK called Sleepwalker.
Four upper-crust socialites meet for dinner on a stormy English night.
Sleepwalker is a bit of an oddity because it was made back when the British Film Institute was financing projects that were under feature length to be later paired with short films and news reels. This story, directed by Saxon Logan, clocked in at under fifty minutes, but still managed to hold my interest.
I’m quite partial to dialogue-driven horror films and this one was as pure as it gets. Looking up the director, I found out that Logan was at one point a protégé of Lindsay Anderson, which made a lot of sense, as the exchanges in this movie were outright acerbic. This foursome’s friendship was strained at best, their reunion more about keeping up appearances than anything else.
|Impolite dinner conversation.
I received a great deal of entertainment from watching these characters interact with each other. Richard (Nickolas Grace) treated tact and courtesy like foreign concepts, and siblings Alex (Bill Douglas) & Marion Britain (Heather Page) never missed an opportunity to get on each other’s nerves. Here’s just a little sample of night cap conversation.
“…A loathsome mass of detestable putridity. Just like life really.”
The Brits sure have a way with language, don’t they? I love verbal warfare. It’s like a dance of back and forth, the subjects daring each other to finally snap.
Visually, Sleepwalker was a wonderful continuation of cinematic Anglo-Gothic and would’ve been completely at home in any one of those Amicus anthologies from the previous decade. However, the subject matter was also very modern. Richard talked at length about how his work “in video” was revolutionizing the populace and Alex spent his evenings tapping away at his computer – a magical computer that seemed to spit out content by just repeatedly hitting Enter. If only.
I felt the ending was a little abrupt, and ultimately unsatisfying, but Logan did throw around a significant amount of blood in the last few minutes, so there was definite escalation. Sleepwalker was an incredibly simplistic piece, but I’m glad the BFI stepped up and released it. It would have been a shame if this strange little film, ultimately the only one Logan would ever direct, had been lost to the winds.