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Midlands Review - Paralysis

By midlandsmovies, Apr 19 2019 08:17AM

Midlands Review - Paralysis

Directed by Benjamin Perry

99 Films / Goldbox Productions


‘Paralysis’ is a short horror film from writer/director Ben Perry out of Derby University.

It focuses on a young man’s rough night as he tries to sleep but finds himself plagued by mysterious forces. The titular Paralysis is a sleeping disorder called Sleep Paralysis, in which a sleeper finds themself unable to move upon waking and often sees disturbing visions of figures in the room.

Our unnamed protagonist just wants a good night’s sleep, but he’s trapped in a cycle of dreams, unable to tell what’s real and what’s illusion, where the dream ends and if he’s truly awake. Some good tricks are used to disorient the audience, from the flickering light of the TV to the eerie soundtrack that unsettles and disturbs.

The creepy mood does suffer a big blow when the apparition shows up, unfortunately. I don’t want to spoil it, but it made me laugh out loud in surprise – not the ideal reaction.

People who suffer from sleep paralysis have reported seeing all sorts of things, from faceless shadow people to grotesque demons sitting on their chests (fun fact: my mother used to see a Jack-the-Ripper type looming over her).

It’s tough to achieve an effective monster or ghost on a microbudget, but it can certainly be done with a little thought and ingenuity. Perhaps there wasn’t time to work on the ghost’s appearance, or perhaps it was even meant to be slightly funny, but either way it doesn’t really suit the film’s established serious tone. It’s also quite thin on story, with a fairly predictable ending.

Let’s not dwell on the negative, though. For a student film, this is a good start and shows early promise. There’s a good command of mood and soundscape, and lead Ryan Loveridge sells his distress well.

We’ve all had those nights where we wake up into another dream and can’t seem to get out, and ‘Paralysis’ captures that disorientation really well.

If ‘Paralysis’ is Perry’s first film, then hopefully it’s a sign of good creepy things to come. Practice makes perfect, and with more films under his belt then no doubt he’ll hone those mood-setting skills and work to nail story and tone better. Keep at it!

Sam Kurd

Twitter @splend

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