SLEEPLESS UNREST (2020)
Directed by Kendall Whelpton, Vera Whelpton.
Starring Cory Heinzen, Jennifer Heinzen, John Huntington, Brian Murray, Richel Stratton, Kendall Whelpton, Vera Whelpton
Find out more about this film here!
A group of paranormal investigators visit the house that inspired the first CONJURING film and stay there for a number of days trying to capture proof of ghosts and the supernatural in their cameras. This documentary seems to have been filmed during the pandemic and tries to explain the long, twisted history of the home and prove the supernatural exist.
While I used to be quite a fan of paranormal investigator shows like GHOST HUNTERS, GHOST ADVENTURES, and the like. But early on, before these shows caught on and became popular, I got bored with the same questionable investigation techniques, the same reactions from the investigators, and the same lack of any kind of substantial evidence found. So I bailed and really haven’t looked back at these all too familiar shows. SLEEPLESS UNREST is my return to the paranormal investigation documentary style show and it seems nothing really has changed. “What the hell is that?” or some kind of variation of swearing and questioning is the go-to reaction of every investigator. Dust particles and settling house sounds are attributed to the supernatural first before most logical explanations are explored. And of course, the technology, build to be ultra-sensitive and react to the slightest change in temperature, movement, or sound is used to provide undeniable proof of the existence of ghosts. For the most part, SLEEPLESS UNREST is like pretty much all other paranormal investigator shows, so if you get into those shows, here’s a full length film to entertain you.
SLEEPLESS UNREST is not without it’s moments. There’s a moment caught on tape where it seems something visible raps on the window leading outside. There is also an intriguing sequence in the woods where the show seems to morph into an episode of FINDING BIGFOOT as the team encounters strange noises and lights in the woods. These are the most intriguing moments of the film, and I must admit, they are chilling, but they are very few and far between. Small details seem to be left out of this doc which call the integrity of the filmmakers into question. The owners of the CONJURING house recently bought the home and seem to be using it as some kind of museum/Halloween haunt locale as there are visible skeletons and spooky props littered throughout the grounds. I don’t know why this fact was left out other than the fact that it might lead one to question the veracity of the experience if the audience knew this was location was used to make money as a haunted attraction.
Here’s something that bothered the hell out of me. What the hell does SLEEPLESS UNREST mean, anyway? This redundant title makes little sense and really has nothing to do with the film. The investigation doesn’t provide much indication as to why these two words were threaded together to make this title other than the fact that a few of the investigators claim they had bad dreams. If you’re a believer, there’s enough in SLEEPLESS UNREST to keep those beliefs afloat. If you’re a sceptic, there is the same amount of evidence to prove your point too. The final moments attempt to make the whole experience something much bigger than it was and the momentum falters because of this need to justify a movie length paranormal show. SLEEPLESS UNREST isn’t a terrible paranormal investigation experience. It has its moments. But its biggest sin is that it isn’t anything different than every other episode you’ve seen.