Sarah (Anne Parillaud) is a woman who has had her world torn apart. After the horrific accidental death of her teenage son, she finds it hard to recover and the breakdown of her marriage only adds to her misery. She is left abandoned by her husband in the country house they where rebuilding together.
Unable to sleep and on the verge of a nervous breakdown, things spiral further out of control when she almost hits a young man while driving home late one night from work.
The same age as her son, Sarah feels an instant affinity towards the stranger named Arthur (Arthur Dupont). He is found covered in blood and scared for his life after being attacked in his family home by a bloodthirsty burglar, who is now chasing him to finish the job he started.
As the mysterious assailant continues to pursue them, Sarah takes Arthur back to her home, setting in motion a night of events that can only lead to a disturbing and tragic conclusion – where truths are revealed and survival is everything.
A dark look into grief and loss through the eyes of the victims and the perpetrators, In Their Sleep is a horror thriller which concentrates more on the characters than the action. Taking its cues from other excellent European horrors such as Funny Games, Ils and Haute Tension (all be it at a much slower pace), the film amps up the realism to create more tangible scares and an emotional connection.
Written and directed by French duo Caroline du Potet and Éric du Potet, this is their first feature and this is made obvious, not only in the short running time, but in the pacing of the plot which is a little ‘off’ towards the end. The story itself too, which contains a few twists and turns and is punctuated by flashbacks throughout, is a little weak and will be all too obvious to any seasoned horror fanatic or thriller fan.
That said, the movie is well shot and well acted and there are some interesting themes. Touching performances and artists flair such as Sarah’s unfinished and isolated house which represents her mental state, unprotected and falling apart as much as it provides the ideal location for a psycho to siege.
Tapping into everyone’s primal fears of having their homes broken into and their families terrorized, In Their Sleep is a taught French thriller. Although far from perfect, it contains enough chilling moments and well shot scenes to warrant a watch.