BEYOND THE WALL OF SLEEP
Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
Thom Maurer, Barrett Klausman
What's it about
It’s the age old story of “inmates-on-a-rampage” as a mysterious, murderous mountain-man is hauled off to the Ulster County Asylum to have the growth on his back examined. Soon though, the reality that this man might just be the harbinger of a much more deadly force begins to sink in as folks begin to drop and the ‘inmates-on-a-rampage” part begins.
Is it good movie?
“Man, this is boring”. That single, discomforting thought filled my head more than any other as I sat - more interested in digging lint out of my belly-button - watching Beyond the Wall of Sleep; the latest cinematic blunder to clog video store shelves.
Re-Animator, From Beyond, Lurking Fear, Castle Freak, Dagon, Necronomicon…these are but a few of the countless other films based on the writings of literary nightmare-maker H.P. Lovecraft – and every single one of them is a better film than Beyond the Wall of Sleep.
If Beyond the Wall of Sleep is guilty of any one thing, it would have to be that it is simply mediocre – a cinematic crime in my books. How someone could take a something with such visceral and inspired beginnings - that being the work of H.P. Lovecraft, something most filmmakers would sell organs (probably their own) to be able to option - and turn it into a ho-hum, no meat and all-filler film is beyond me. The source material is so ripe with menace and deep, dark, badness, that it amazes me that what two Directors, Barrett Klausman and Thom Maurer, delivered is yet another cookie-cutter “tales from an insane asylum” time-waster.
Then it hit me (or rather, I hit IMDb); it’s all bullshit! This guy Klausman isn’t a Director; he’s the travel coordinator for National Treasure! And Maurer? Not so much - “Ah perspective, such a wonderful thing”. Now I’m not trying to rag on these guys because their resumes aren’t up there with the likes of say Stuart Gordon, but it does go a long way in explaining some of the films shortcomings. Lovecraft is a fickle writer to adapt correctly; he’s all about tone and what we don’t see (that idea that there’s something there, just on the horizon, barley out of sight and definitely out of comprehension, but on it’s way to devour our f**king lives none-the-less), rather than in-your-face flash-cutting and multiple camera speeds, or color shifts, or…or any of that shit. Lovecraft does not lend himself to hipster, shoot-from-the-hip amateurs; it takes the precision shot of a filmmaker with a keen sense of what Lovecraft is all about and equipped with a much better skill-set to tackle the master of the macabre. Klausman, Maurer…sorry fellas.
Video / Audio
VIDEO: Lionsgate presents Beyond the Wall of Sleep in a very clean, very detailed 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. Thank the Lord for small favors…at least it was nice to look at!
AUDIO: No problems here; the 5.1 Dolby Digital track was smooth as a vodka-seven, but had the kick of a prairie-fire.
No much to report. Here’s the list:
Filmmaker’s commentary: Congratulations Thom Maurer, Barrett Klausman and Koko Polosajian. It’s your first feature-length film. It’s your first commentary. Hey, why not come across as a bunch of troglodyte frat-boy retards instead of serious filmmakers? The smart-ass, giggle-shtick got old – real quick.
Storyboard Gallery: We get a look at eight static charcoal drawings. Wow.
Storyboard Animatic: See the same eight static charcoal drawings mentioned above as, this time, they move across the screen using some sort of beta version of Flash. Once again...wow.
The rest of the disc is rounded out with trailers for Beyond the Wall of Sleep, The Graveyard, Minotaur, Breaking Dawn, Dark Asylum and Madhouse.
There are many, many better films out there based on the woks of H.P. Lovecraft; Beyond the Wall of Sleep is best left “On the Wall of the Video Store”