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Routine thriller 'Don't Sleep' relies on supernatural boilerplate

Routine thriller 'Don't Sleep' relies on supernatural boilerplate
Alex Carter and Drea de Matteo in the movie "Don't Sleep." (Freestyle Digital Media)

There's scarcely a new or old horror movie cliché that goes unused in "Don't Sleep," a supernatural thriller that tries a little bit of everything — all competently, none memorably.

Dominic Sherwood and Charlbi Dean Kriek play Zach and Shawn, a smitten pair of college students who set up a love nest in the guesthouse of friendly married couple Vincent and Jo Marino (played by Alex Carter and Drea de Matteo), who live in a charmingly upscale neighborhood with Vincent's affable father (Alex Rocco, in his final screen role).

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But ever since he was a boy, Shawn's been plagued by nightmares involving sharp-toothed, hooded monsters. His mother (Jill Hennessy) even took him to a child psychologist (Cary Elwes), who may have made his haunting worse.

Possessed kids? Creepy suburbs? Shower scenes? Shadowy figures popping up in shadows and mirrors? Writer-director Rick Bieber (a Hollywood vet who produced the original "Flatliners" 27 years ago) brings all that and more.

But even with a solid cast at his disposal, Bieber can't make "Don't Sleep" anything more than a disconnected compendium of time-tested shock tactics. An opening epigraph from Nietzsche about loneliness and demons suggests a deeper character study that never materializes. Instead there's just one familiar jolt after another.

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‘Don’t Sleep’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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