Don't Go To Sleep (1983)
PLOT - A family moves to a brand new house in Northern California a year after a horrible car accident that claimed the life of their eldest daughter. Trying to pick up the pieces, the family is hopeful for a new beginning when Mary, their daughter begins suffering from terrible nightmares of a monster lurking in her bedroom calling her name. A series of accidents begin to occur causing Mary to start seeing visions of her deceased sister. Is it her revengeful spirit that's responsible? Or something much worse?
LOWDOWN - Today I'm home sick, so wrapped up in blankets and endless cups of tea I decided to review this little hidden gem that in my eyes is one of the top five greatest made for TV horror movies that came from the 1970's and 80's. I always love finding undiscovered gems. It becomes harder and harder to watch older horror movies I've never seen before. Last week my friend Jody asked me if I had ever seen the movie "Don't Go To Sleep." Instantly I figured I must have since it reminded me of such titles as "Don't Go Into The House, Don't Answer The Phone, He Knows Your Alone, ect." Looking it up, much to my surprise I saw I hadn't in fact ever watched this movie. Highly interested last night while feeling like complete and utter shit, I took a ton of cold meds, warmed up some tea, and settled down o watch this movie on Youtube. Now I'll admit, the first half I wasn't paying much attention. Between me having a slight fever, and me blogging, it took me a while before turning my full attention to the screen. The second I saw how this movie was right up my alley, I decided it start it over and pay full attention.
This movie is just like the kind of made for TV horror movie I adore. In fact in the 1970's and 80's a great handful of movies that aired on ABC and CBS were even better that theatrical films that were released at the time. We had such gems as Devil Dog, Hellhound from Hell, The Possession of Mrs. Oliver, The Midnight Hour, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, The Initiation Of Sarah, and Trilogy Of Terror. These tales all had the same vibe and feel, and are total comfort movies for me. In fact one of my favorite things to do is look up old made for TV horror movies, so the second this started I knew I was in for a treat.
Between the California setting, the beautiful big house, and the decent solid cast, this now not only is one of my top five favorite made for TV horror movies, but one of my newest favorite ghost stories. The movie is a slow burn, but builds tension well. I love the late 70's, early 80's vibe the film gives and how it allows the audience to see how broken this family is ever since the accident that happened. Between the father who clearly has a drinking problem, the lush of a grandmother who favored the daughter who was killed, the bratty son (love that it's the brother from Poltergeist) the adorable daughter Mary and how royally mentally fucked since she witnessed her sister die, and the hopeful mother who goes through enough trauma to last a lifetime. The movie sure is cheesy at times, but you gotta remember what time this was made in. I love the scene of Mary making up to her bed on fire, or the thick tension filled moment when the father and grandmother argue over who's fault it exactly was the night of the accident.
Loved the lighting and the moment Mary rolls underneath her bed to find the ghost of her sister sitting there smiling. In fact whenever Jennifer (the sister) is shown the lighting is always on point. Love the creepy childish music, and how together they plot to get rid of the family members that are causing problems for them to be together. The film has some very memorable moments (The roof/watermelon scene actually left me speechless. I'm sorta impressed they went that route for a made for TV movie.) or the famous pizza cutter scene. The big epic moment in the flashback of what exactly happened the night of the accident and leaving the audience to decide who exactly is doing the killings.
What really made the movie for me was the very last scene. Without giving too much away the final shot acutely had me say out loud "Holy shit!" Not a huge shocker, but leaves the viewer beyond creeped out.
So I urge anyone to please check this movie out right away please. It's a fun, creepy little supernatural movie that deserves the blu-ray treatment!