‘While Mortals Sleep’ – MiamisFF Review

A Return to Classic Horror

While Mortals Sleep is a cerebral film and delivers succinct and shocking horror in the same vain as Hereditary while managing to establish and maintain an identity all its own. From the opening shot, we’re shown that there will be otherworldly implications and writer/director Alex Fofonoff delivers. There is mystery and intrigue and the more we learn the more these traits are exemplified. But what is done better than anything else is the subversion of expectations. What we are originally led to believe is a home invasion by unwelcome guests after Susan (Carie Kawa) notices them while house sitting for some friends, and based solely on narrative tropes developed over time, this is exactly the route I was anticipating going down. But as these intruders are introduced, there is something beneath the surface that was very tangible, just not yet identifiable. The film then takes a completely unexpected turn for the grotesque as these once-thought intruders are revealed to have birthed ‘God’ and are nurturing the creature while recruiting disciples, all to the knowledge of Susan’s friends.

Fans of horror films of the 70s and 80s will appreciate the decision to use practical effects and puppets to portray the creature which only adds to the unease and horror while still possessing that certain charm as the films of John Carpenter once had. Visually speaking, the film is also shot like a film from the golden age of horror, which is a decision I respect wildly and only adds more texture to the atmosphere that is lacking in many modern horror films. I was also thoroughly impressed with the performances from lead actors Carie Kawa, Will Brill, and Grace Morrison, with Kawa being the real standout in my opinion.

While Mortals Sleep is enthralling quick-fix horror that offers thrills and excitement with such a short runtime and left me truly impressed with all levels of filmmaking. Fans of horror are sure to enjoy the film alongside those looking for another palatable interpretation of an old-school narrative.



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