Sleepwalkers Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Robert Gold
Blu-ray released by Scream Factory
Directed by Mick Garris
Written by Stephen King
1992, 91 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on November 6th, 2018
Brian Krause as Charles Brady
Mädchen Amick as Tanya Robertson
Alice Krige as Mary Brady
Jim Haynie as Sheriff Ira
Ron Perlman as Captain Soames
Glenn Shadix as Mr. Fallows
Cindy Pickett as Mrs. Robertson
Lyman Ward as Mr. Robertson
Dan Martin as Andy Simpson
Charles Brady and his mother Mary share a special connection, a bond that has served them well for a very long time. Things appear normal on the surface, but they are secretly shape-shifting creatures that suck the souls of their victims for eternal life. Having just relocated to a small Indiana town, Charles enrolls in the local high school where he meets the fetching Tanya Robertson. The two begin an innocent relationship as Charles prepares to serve her to his mother. The Bradys, however, have a natural enemy, the common housecat, and their plans are frequently interrupted by the friendly felines. Mother is starving and growing more desperate by the day, so the pressure is on. Tanya is proving to be a worthy adversary, as she is capable of fighting back and defending herself. Soon she will face off against both mother and son and try to stay alive long enough to put this whole messy ordeal behind her.
Stephen King movies are usually hit-or-miss, and when they fail they can be miserable. Sleepwalkers came out in 1992, at a time when horror films were shifting from slashers to more supernatural fare, and lands somewhere in the middle with mixed results. Director Mick Garris (Psycho IV) does a fine job with the material and delivers some really interesting shots and inspired camera angles. The first half of the picture works really well, but once the titular creatures do their thing, they become a bit goofy. The plot moves at a decent pace and the characters are well-realized, but the story grows scattered. Cats play a prominent role here, and there are nearly a hundred of them in the film, which must have been a logistical nightmare.
Brian Krause (Return to the Blue Lagoon) stars as Charles, the charming all-American antihero. He is a handsome boy-next-door type who holds a deadly secret. Krause is really good in the role and plays well off his co-stars. Mädchen Amick (Riverdale) is the virginal heroine Tanya, a good girl caught in a nightmare scenario. The two share great cinematic chemistry and are instantly likeable. The true villain of the piece, Mary Brady, is brought to life by the always welcome Alice Krige (Ghost Story), who commands every scene she is in. Her intense gaze and haunting delivery make her captivating and I am unable to take my eyes off her whenever she appears on screen.
The supporting cast includes Glenn Shadix (Beetlejuice) as the ill-fated English teacher Mr. Fallows. He is appropriately intimidating as an authority figure and quite smarmy in his performance. Ron Perlman (Cronos) plays Captain Soames, one of the small-town police officers facing off against the Brady family. Director Garris loads the film with some wonderful cameo appearances for genre fans that I won’t spoil here. There’s some dated CGI morphing effects that were popular in the early ‘90s and some groan-worthy comedy is peppered throughout, but not enough to tank the picture. Sleepwalkers is a fun time capsule of a movie that plays on my nostalgia, so I have a soft spot for it, despite its flaws.
Video and Audio:
Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and sporting a spiffy new HD remaster, the picture looks terrific. Colors are strong and black levels are inky and there is plenty of small-object detail throughout.
A DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio from the previous Blu-ray release does a fine job, but audiences will be happy to hear the all-new DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that Scream Factory has included for this edition. The expanded soundtrack is a welcome treat that plays across the room during the numerous chase scenes throughout the picture.
Optional English subtitles are included for anyone in need.
Director Mick Garris is joined by stars Krause and Amick for an audio commentary that is laid back and conversational in nature and provides an easy listen. Garris and Amick do most of the talking, with the two sharing many production stories. Garris prompts his actors with thoughtful questions that keep things moving. This is an engaging discussion that is definitely worth a listen.
In Feline Trouble (19 minutes), Garris discusses how the project came together and helped establish his longtime relationship with Stephen King. He has nothing but kind words for his cast and crew and provides some insights into working within the studio system.
Mädchen Amick and Brian Krause reunite for the conversational segment When Charles Met Tanya (15 minutes) and reminisce about their time working on the film. The two are clearly having a fun time sharing stories and this really is a fun piece.
Mother and More (16 minutes) catches up with actress Alice Krige, who is absolutely charming and her interview is a welcome addition to this disc. She is a fan of the genre and has a lot of nice things to say about this production.
Special make-up effects artist Tony Gardner and prosthetics designer Mike Smithson share the inner workings of their contributions in Creatures & Cats (16 minutes). Gardner discusses the creature suits and the film’s original ending.
Mick Garris provides some original behind-the-scenes footage (7 minutes) from the alternate ending. Additional behind-the-scenes footage can be found within the other interviews on this disc.
The original theatrical trailer is joined by a collection of TV spots showcasing the film’s ad campaign.
A still gallery (4 minutes) plays as a silent slideshow featuring production stills, publicity shots, lobby cards and international artwork in both color and black and white.
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