There’s a lot of things people do while they’re sleeping. Some people snore in their sleep. Some people talk in their sleep. Some people even walk around the house in their sleep. There’s a small percentage of people who suffer from Nocturnal Sleep-related Eating Disorder, a condition where they eat while they’re asleep. In Shane Grant’s debut film Sleep Eater, we get to see someone with a very specific menu item during his somnambulistic eating.
Presented by Cemetery Theater, Sleep Eater was the debut project for Shane Grant (Blind Date 2017), who directed, wrote, produced, shot, edited and acted in the film. This one man band got some help from Bill Cassenelli (Scary Tales 2001), who both produced and acted in the short, as well as Ian Marquis, who composed the score. Timothy J. Ryan (Empire Falls TV series), Jason Tripp (Dasavatharam 2008), Shannon Denbrow, Dave Isaac, Tannis McCourt and R.H. Mulcahey also star.
The official synopsis:
After a strange encounter with an old homeless man, Quinn Rogers (Bill Cassinelli) is stricken with a strange appetite for things in his sleep. Upon learning that he might be responsible for eating more than just snacks, he tries everything imaginable to fix the disorder before the bodies begin piling up and the trail leads back to him.
Let me start with the premise. I love the fact that Quinn would do these things while he was sleeping. It reminded me of Nightmare on Elm Street in a way. Everyone needs to sleep, and no one can control what they do when they’re sleeping. You don’t have to go to the cabin in the woods and you don’t have to keep living in the haunted house. But you do have to sleep. What a terrifying concept! The 30 minute short had a great flow and the acting was pretty good. The dream sequence at the end had to be one of the most insane and cringeworthy scenes I’ve seen in years. That scene alone was worth the price of admission.
All of the FX in Sleep Eater were practical, which is a great thing to hear for any horror fan. The film was shot in Bangor, ME, the hometown of the Master of Horror Stephen King. As a matter of fact, some of the shooting locations were the same ones that were used in 1982’s Creepshow for “The Hitch-hiker” segment. The All-Nite BBQ place was called Mainly Meat, which made me laugh.
What Doesn’t Work
There’s really not much that doesn’t work in Sleep Eater. I guess if I were to complain about anything in a movie about a sleepwalking cannibal, it would be that I wish there had been more gore, but with the budget, I’m honestly shocked at how much they were able to show. I did think a few of the walking scenes could have been trimmed. They ran a few seconds too long, but that is a seriously small gripe.
You can check out both the film’s Facebook page and a making of documentary right on YouTube. Sleep Eater is the poster child for the indie film – a fantastic, original film made for $100 and shot in seven days. You can’t get much more quality at these bare bones prices very often, so do yourself a favor and check this one out right here.