Now Streaming in Austin: Sleep No More
Local horror brings back Eighties’ Pop and popcorn
With his fifth feature, Sleep No More, Austin director Phillip Guzman returns to the theme of his last film – the perils of a good night's rest. In 2016's Dead Awake, the characters are afraid to put their head to the pillow because something evil is waiting in slumberland for them. In Sleep No More, they have a different vested interest in staying awake: the fortunes that await someone who can make a drug that keeps people up and productive even longer than coke. "More sci-fi than horror, with some comedic moments and some dramatic moments. We wanted it to be fun, like a popcorn movie."
The original draft of the script by Austin novelist Jason Murphy was set in modern times, but as soon as Guzman read it, he knew it needed a major change. He said, "When I read it, I said, 'Jason, you realize the people have gone more than 200 hours without sleep, and you can just fucking Google it?' He goes, 'Really?' and I go, 'Yeah!'" So immediately the pair decided that it needed to be "a period piece, when people were doing stupid shit because they couldn't Google."
Thus, the Eighties, the era of peak cinematic weird science, and a synth-pop score to die for. Guzman heaps all the praise on music supervisor Sean Fernald for assembling a playlist of the kind of bands Guzman saw as a kid in Germany, watching MTV Europe: bands like Bananarama, Duran Duran, and the Pet Shop Boys – the really successful bands of the era, not the cool kid indie acts that hipster retro films feature. "I figured it would be a cool nod to my European upbringing," said Guzman. "That first Pet Shop Boys album was alright."
Sleep No More is available now on VOD, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.