A pleasing reminder of the way low budget slasher movies used to be, Justin Russell's tribute to the early 80's horror flick hits (mostly) the right buttons.
The girls of an american college sorority house (naturally) are menaced by an unknown menace (of course) who thoughtfully calls them up to say which one of them he is going to pick off next. True to his word, he gets them alone one-by-one, whilst the usual ineffective police force try to stop him. Cue much retro styled slice-and-dice, along with some homage-perfect, slightly dumb set pieces.
Modern audiences weaned on flashy CGI fests will probably grumble about the pace, but fans of this particular brand of flick will find much to enjoy. With nods to other films of its type (notably 1974's Black Christmas), it has visual references galore, right down to some quite endearing DIY effects, VHS style glitches in the picture (apparently there is a VHS edition available in the US!), and the reel change ring as the end credits roll. It's not a perfect pastiche by any means, but short of using genuine 80's film stock (which I doubt is even made anymore) or getting a time machine, everyone does an admirable job. Russell works wonders with a tiny budget, striking a nice balance between gently sending up the form and paying affectionate tribute.
I read some horrendous reviews before seeing this film, but I beg to differ. All in all, The Sleeper is good fun which knows exactly the crowd it's aiming for. Best accompanied by beer and a pizza, late on a Friday night.
Purple rating: 7/10
US 2012 - Gamma Knife Films
Certificate 18 (UK)
DVD: Safecracker Pictures (UK)