Still: Playing Up The Horror Of Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis, if one were to Google it, is a temporary inability to move or speak when trying to sleep or when asleep or upon waking up. The protagonist of Jeff Kapp’s Still suffers from sleep paralysis which is shown to be the primary antagonist in a desperate attempt. But the real villain of this film isn’t any physical inability, it’s all the aspects of the film that are the real culprits.

The plot of the film is quite simple: Woman (played by Alyssa Caswell) suffers from sleep paralysis. Woman tells her mom about it. Mom recommends kicking back a few drinks and trying to get some sleep. An intruder breaks into her house and a fight to death ensues, which is really more like a struggle to survive, because the Woman is entirely unprepared and at a loss, given that she wakes up paralysed yet again. 

Still - Short Film Review - Indie Shorts Mag

The plot has a distant echo of Scream, but with less enjoyable filmmaking. This is where the film falters heavily. Out of the two actors, Caswell gives an above-average performance, compared to the intruder played unsatisfactorily by Patrick Harney (who is also a producer of this film). Harney really tries to channel Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance here but fails far more often than he succeeds.

The cinematography and editing aren’t in tandem with the plot. For most of the part, it seems like the director and the DOP are approaching in separate directions due to the excessive shots being taken to create a sense of suspense and thrill which, quite frankly, falls flat on its face. The only time the film’s cinematography and editing does work is during the climax and the post-climax scene where it manages to create suspense and fear. The circular narrative is the last and only thing that works well for Still. A common feature in horror films, it nevertheless gives the film a much needed neat finish. 

Still - Short Film Review - Indie Shorts Mag
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Still: Playing Up The Horror Of Sleep Paralysis
3 / 5 Stars

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