"Dying to Sleep": A Gripping Tale of Sleep Deprivation and Unraveled Secrets Unfolds - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Saturday, October 21, 2023

"Dying to Sleep": A Gripping Tale of Sleep Deprivation and Unraveled Secrets Unfolds

"Dying to Sleep": A Gripping Tale of Sleep Deprivation and Unraveled Secrets Unfolds

"Dying to Sleep," a compelling creation by writer/director/producer Paris Dylan, delves deep into the realms of body, spirit, and soul under the torment of sleep deprivation.

The protagonist, Mary (played by Sarah Lydia Sophia), battles a losing war against sleeplessness. As her body weakens, she begins to witness eerie apparitions, including a shadowy figure of a boy in a black hoodie. These ghostly specters flicker at the periphery of her vision, haunting her even in reflective windows.

Under the care of Dr. Ted Palmer (Eric Roberts), Mary reluctantly begins a medication regimen. Trust is a scarce commodity, yet, for the sake of the narrative, she succumbs. Meanwhile, her empathetic brother Joe (Paris Dylan) stands by her, understanding her struggles rooted in their shared broken family history.

At her birthday gathering, familial tensions erupt, orchestrated by the matriarch, Helen (Maria Pinsent). Verbal abuse, heated arguments, dramatic insinuations, and drunken behavior become the norm. Amidst this chaos, Mary's secrets spill out before the guests: Tom (Jataun Gilbert) and Jen (Victoria Baldesarra).

Yet, the film falters. The portrayal of Mary, or rather the performance by Sarah Lydia Sophia, lacks depth. While carrying a film is undoubtedly arduous, Sophia's portrayal feels one-dimensional, failing to deliver the nuanced layers required. The illusion of the "black sweatshirt" figure lacks intensity and fails to evoke fear, making the eventual "twist" fall disappointingly flat.

"Dying to Sleep" stands as a commendable attempt, reflecting the efforts of a dedicated team. However, it lacks the spine-chilling elements crucial for a horror film.


I cherish films that weave profound messages into entertaining narratives. "Dying to Sleep" dives into guilt, family dynamics, mental illness, and LGBTQ identity. It also serves as a commentary on the clash between old and new medicine. Amidst an intimate setting, grand themes unfold, interwoven with intriguing layers that slowly unravel as the story progresses. The film's captivating performances and its overall look, feel, tone, and aesthetics glue the audience to their seats, urging them to decipher subtle hints and piece together this psychological mystery.

— Paris Dylan

(In Chronological Order):

NoHo Cinefest Film Festival

North Hollywood, CA, United States
September 29, 2022
World Premiere
NOMINATION: Best Director
NOMINATION: Best Picture
IndieFEST Film Awards

La Jolla, CA, United States
November 1, 2022
WINNER: Best Feature Film
WINNER: Best Ensemble Cast
Los Angeles Film Awards

Los Angeles, CA, United States
December 22, 2022
WINNER: Best Picture
WINNER: Best Director
WINNER: Best Trailer
Sweden Film Awards

Stockholm, Sweden
December 12, 2022
NOMINATION: Best Picture
NOMINATION: Best Director
NOMINATION: Best Actress Sarah Lydia Sophia
Santa Monica Film Awards

Santa Monica, CA, United States
December 15, 2022
WINNER: Best Feature Film
NOMINATION: Best Director
NOMINATION: Best Actor Dar Dixon

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