"Parasomnia" is the medical term for "Sleeping Beauty syndrome," not to mention for "half a good movie."

Laura Baxter (Cherilyn Wilson) is a young woman afflicted with the condition, making her sleep practically all the time. While visiting a friend in the psych ward, art student Danny (Dylan Purcell) happens upon her room, gazes at her slumbering form, falls in love, and decides to kidnap her and take her to his apartment, where he can give her regular sponge baths.

And if you think that premise is completely preposterous, wait until you see Laura's reactions upon being out in the real world. Although she can formulate sentences, she crawls around the grass like a dog (complete with chew toy in her mouth), and rubs strawberry ice cream all over her face.

Luckily, "Parasomnia" has some good parts to balance out these sorry comedic ones, portraying Laura in a creepy dream world, reminiscent of 1984's "Dreamscape" and populated with bizarre monsters, like one with tree branches for hair. Danny's abduction of Laura irritates the serial killer (Patrick Kilpatrick) in the rubber room next door, who possesses the power to make people do Very Bad Things via some form of hypnosis. (Witness the first scene in which Sean Young answers the phone and then leaps off her balcony.) As police detective Garrett, cult fave Jeffrey Combs investigates the resulting grisly crimes.

William Malone's involvement as writer and director made me interested in this one, as I enjoyed what he brought to the "House on Haunted Hill" remake. Reportedly, he financed this one out his own pocket, even taking out another mortgage on his house to do so. I hope he recouped his investment, but something "? no proper theatrical release, perhaps "? tells me otherwise.

He has a knack for coming up with some nightmarish imagery and spooky design, but lacks in the areas of character motivation and believability. The clockwork creatures of the third act are really something to see, even if the narrative has all but collapsed by then. At least it's better than Malone's last try at bat, the execrable "FeardotCom," so for indiscriminating horror fans, that alone makes it worth a rental, but nothing more. "?Rod Lott

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