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Sleepless Nights

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William Hopkins
Jacqueline Anderson
Matthew Thomas
Richard Ryan
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Vampire movies are a figurative dime-a-dozen, and in some cases that budget may be literal as well.
Sleepless Nights tells a story mixing in several elements including a secret government agency, a love story, a brain tumor and of course, vampires. While there are some high points among the actors, the film suffers all around from the lack of cash, time and effort devoted to it.
That’s not to say that given Paramount money, this film was going to be the next Citizen Kane. While ambitious in a lot of areas, there are still plenty of flaws.
Scripted by director Hopkins, the film centers around Kaitlin Moore (Anderson), an agent for the Necromorphic Agency of the government. Since she has a terminal illness, she attempts to become a vampire at the hands (teeth) of a vampire named Christian Grey (Thomas). The vampire and the agent must combine forces to stop the dreaded vampire lord Malgaard (York).
With a larger budget, the effects would have been far more convincing, instead of something straight out of Cartoon Network’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force…and that features a character named Meatwad. The shots of New York City may be recycled from first generation Troma or Steve Oedekirk’s thumb movies, and the DVD box artwork looks like a Sega Genesis video game circa 1992.
Budget notwithstanding, the film offers nothing new about vampires. The actions, mannerisms, and wardrobe are carbon copies of an Anne Rice novel. The government agency uses stakes and crossbows to dispatch their vampires, and there’s more than enough black leather and red velvet to go around. Also, the vampire hunters tend to raid a lot of places at night, which I’d say is not the best practice.
Among the most humorous aspects of the film is the rating of R for “vampire violence”. Is that an actual category from the MPAA now? Right next to “suggestive nudity displayed by a lipsynching bubble gum pop princess”?
The script is passable with the exception of Malgaard, whose delivery is a forced whisper which usually dips below the soundtrack. His primary purpose in the film is twofold; be the bad guy and provide plot details via monologues.
Extras include trailers and Spanish subtitles, a making-of featurette and a director’s commentary. The extras provide some unwanted insight into the thoughts of the producers, including a jab at the Blair Witch Project. The most notable facts thrown out by the producers include an admission that the film had no budget (clearly visible from frame one) and that some of them were unfamiliar with making a movie.

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