WATCH IT! "IN MY SLEEP": (Sleep)Walking in L.A.

(Sleep)Walking in L.A.

Talk about a “wet dream”! In the opening scene of Allen Wolf’s “In My Sleep”, hunky L.A. massage therapist Marcus (Philip Winchester) wakes up covered in dried blood with a guilty-looking knife by his side. He is completely unaware of what happened. Apparently, 40 days earlier, Marcus had woken up in the middle of the woods, in only his boxer briefs. He not only doesn’t know how he ended up there, but is also faced with the humiliation of having to walk home nearly naked. We learn that Marcus has a long history of “parasomnia”, a rare but fascinating condition which, according to his doctor, can cause a person to do “just about anything while sleepwalking”. For Marcus, this “anything” soon includes having sex with his best friend’s wife (Kelly Overton)… and not remembering it. Plagued with guilt, the ladies’ man suspects he may be a sexual addict (How timely!). He joins a support group and also tries out some stronger sleeping pills. But no 12-step meeting or drug can help when one of Marcus’ sexual conquests turns up murdered… and this ladykiller is seriously looking like… a lady killer. Did Marcus murder this woman while sleepwalking? Even he doesn’t know. Plagued with the stabbing question of “Did I or didn’t I?”, the often shirtless somnambulist tries to solve the mystery himself. He sets up a video camera (a la “Paranormal Activity”) to record his nighttime activity. He recruits his way-too-perky neighbor and former fling (Lacy Chabert) to handcuff him to his bed at night. He visits his cold, estranged mother (Beth Grant), trying to find some clues stemming from his childhood. Marcus even allows a fellow 12-stepper (Abigail Spencer), an attractive female doctor and potential love interest, to test a sample of the blood from those telltale sheets. As “In My Sleep” progresses, the goings-on grow increasingly strange– with more twists and revelations than half a season of “Law and Order” (albeit with much more attractive scenery than that TV show…).

“In My Sleep” manages to blend comedy and thriller quite well. In one laugh-out-loud scene, Marcus’ best friend Justin (Tim Draxl) plans a surprise party for him, and he mistakes Marcus’ “little black book” for his address book when planning the guest list. The result is an almost all-female party made up mostly of Marcus’ sexual conquests. In contrast, there’s the scene where two policemen pay Marcus a post-murder visit… and the on-screen tension is so palpable that it’s guaranteed to keep the theater in an edgy silence. Some of the plot twists of “In My Sleep” require a good deal of “suspension of disbelief” on the part of the viewer; unfortunately, it occasionally asks a bit more than we can give– especially the scene when the identity of the killer is finally revealed. In addition, some of the directorial touches drift into horror movie cliché and may inspire more giggles than gasps from the audience. Any glitches of “In My Sleep” are made up for in a big way by the performance of the intensely charismatic Philip Winchester, as the intensely charismatic Marcus. Even with the character’s sexual restlessness (When his friend asks him, “What happened to that girl you were with? She was cute.”, Marcus retorts, “We’re in L.A. They’re all cute!”) and his possible “dark side”, the women in the movie can’t help but be charmed. Audiences watching Winchester will likely undergo the same feeling.

“In My Sleep” opens April 23 in L.A. and April 30 in New York City. Visit for more.

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