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

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).

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.


‘Don’t Sleep’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica

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