Review: Laura Hasn’t Slept (2020)

Screenshot form the film

Envision that liberating moment when you wake up from a nightmare to find refuge in the real world. It usually comes after huge efforts to make it happen – the inner panicky “wake-up calls” accompanied by dread of leathal consequences in case you don’t. Why and how is never logical, but the wheel is spinning. Torture and death lurk from all corners of our cubconscious script-writing lab with limitless possibilities how to meet them. It is therefore no wonder how much film material our nightmares deliver.

And now, think of that other, horrifying moment when you realise that you are actually not awake, that you only dreamt about it. That threatening something is still very present and it’s up to no good. You can have it in a series of fake wake-up sensations that lead you back to the same danger with its shifting forms. Perhaps, the biggest fear of all is that you will never wake up from a nighmare, staying in the perpetual state of angst instead. Which is an even larger inspiration for horror lovers.

Just referencing would take an enormous amount of space, so we’ll just skip on that because Parker Finn’s vision of nightmares deserves more than a lengthy intro about other genre films, some of them already classics.

Laura hasn’t slept in a while. Her recurring nightmare makes her believe that she will find her end should she ever see the true face of the man who’s after her night after night. Aware that her fear doesn’t make much sense because – there is no such thing as monsters, or real threat in dreams – she visits a therapist (Lew Temple). Dr. Parsons is a careful listener, and Laura (Caitlin Stasey) describes her dreadful dream at great lenght, focusing on why it scares her so much.

The sudden turn of events pushes her back into the place of dread. When the space of comfort starts crumbling in front of her eyes, the magnificent set decor put together by Piper Tompkins gets ravaged with great force by the special effects team that turns it into the spine-chilling, claustophobic room. The visuals are impressive, and they give the final touch to this well-accomplished horror short which achieves more in its brief 11 minutes than most of the feature-length films that deal with similar topics.

Both Stasey and Temple are fantastic in their roles and they carry the story penned by the director effortlessly. Finn shows a great ability for smooth transition from one atmospheric level to the next, with a necessary instinct for a twist at the right moment.

Lura Hasn’t Slept was screened outside of competition at Slash film festival, where we caught up with it. The film has already made quite an impressive international festival round.

Country: Australia
Language: English
Year: 2020
Runtime: 11 minutes
Horror drama
Executive Producers: Lew, Temple, Jessica Bonander, Tristan Borys
Producers: Parker Finn, Jonathan Fass,
Written & Directed by: Parker Finn
Cinematographer: Dan Clarke
Production Design: Noah Dains
Art Director: Alex Fowler
Set Decoration: Piper Tompkins
Sound Recordist: Tori McJunkin
Re-recording Mixer: Rob Young
Sound Designer: Dan Kenyon
Editor: Tristan Borys
Special Effects: Nelson Cooper
Visual Effects: Sean Findley, Nicolaus Waetjen
Music by: Rob Himebaugh
Hair-, Makeup: Monique Paredes