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Sleepless
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Genre:Horror
Year:2001
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 57 Minutes
Cast:Dario Argento, Max Von Sydow, Stefano Dionisi, Chiara Caselli

Italian horror master Dario Argento returns to form with Sleepless, a detective thriller reminiscent of his Hitchcockian debut, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. The venerable Max von Sydow stars as Moretti, a retired police detective and insomniac committed to fulfilling a two-decade-old pledge to avenge the murder of a young boy's mother. With surreal giallo flair, Argento introduces the killer early on -- a dwarf who uses a morbid nursery rhyme as the blueprint for his serial homicides. The twist? This small killer is thought to be long dead, until a spate of new murders employing his "style" suggests otherwise. Moretti teams up with the boy he made his promise to, Giacomo (Sefano Dionisi), now a grown man. As Moretti, von Sydow eerily resembles Father Merrick, the elderly priest he portrayed in The Exorcist. Recalling in many ways his astounding Opera, Argento again creates brutally imaginative murder set pieces. Echoing throughout the film is the killer's sinister nursery rhyme (written by the director's daughter Asia Argento), which taps into the film's greatest vision of terror: That evil can be as irrational as a nonsensical children's verse. R.J. Wafer

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