Slumber follows a sleep doctor (Maggie Q) who attempts to assist a family in their nightly struggle with relentless and distressing sleep walking. As the family is observed, it becomes clear that the family is suffering from more than just night terrors and sleep paralysis, and that a dark, malicious entity may be involved.
A twist on the possession genre, this film follows a similar vein to that of Insidious, in which it has this nuanced mixture of possession and haunted house. In this case, we have an entity that is responsible for an ever-growing phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis has many different symptoms associated with it, but the odd similarities between people's accounts has led many to believe it is a supernatural force. One such similarity is a dark being hiding in the shadows, approaching the bed, and this film plays off that theme.
It plays generically to its plot, drawing on its increasing dread as the family suffers more and more and our doctor becomes more aware of the situation. Of course, we are given exposition from a survivor at some point and our doctor has her own past trauma that attempts to engage us in the plot further.
The majority of the film feels familiar, not providing much new material from the mainstream horror concept, but it is more effective than others. Maggie does a decent job in the lead, but I found the true gold was in the sleep-suffering family. The moments shown of the family's sleep walking is disturbing at times and terrifying at others. Exaggerated elements of real sleep paralysis, it has a sense of reality to it that only strengthens its effect.
The final act and the scenes leading up to it are clumsy and riddled with motif flaws that could be described as plot holes. We have enough rhyme and reason to get through, but it makes the final moments less effective. I need subtitles in moments towards the end because the sound design was so poor I couldn't hear key phrases necessary for understanding the situation.
I could've used more, but the pay-off is better than others I've seen. Slumber encompasses the term "middle of the road". It wasn't a waste of time, and it wasn't something I'd commend as unique or effective horror. It simply was.
Horror Qualifier: 8/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 5/10