In the ninth episode of the ninth series ofÂ Doctor Who, WHY MUST THIS SHOW DO THIS TO ME. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Doctor Who.
So now you want to ruinÂ sleep? Thanks,Â Doctor Who.
I love a good scare fest, and Mark Gatissâ€™s â€œSleep No Moreâ€ is all about crafting an unnerving and unsettling experience. Itâ€™s not heavy on characterization beyond the rejection of Morpheus by the Doctor, Clara, and Chopra. Well, 474Â doesÂ get a bit of growth, but itâ€™s hard to pull that out of a script that tells us at the beginning that pretty much everyone is going to die.
Still, â€œSleep No Moreâ€ zeroes in on paranoia and terror through the creation of the Sandmen, the products of the Morpheus machine. In the 38th century, time is a commodity, and in order to increase profit and production, the Morpheus machine allows people to compact all their sleep into a tiny burst. Otherwise, they stay awake until their next session. It honestly seemed wrong the second I heard it. SLEEP IS GREAT, WHY WOULD YOU NOT WANT TO HAVE IT. But Gatiss takes that wrongness a step further by positing that the Morpheus creates a living creature out of the dead cells and skin that one finds in the corner of your eye when you wake up. The Sandmen. WHO ARE HUMANOID BUT BASICALLY JUST A GIANT MOUTH FOR A HEAD AND THATâ€™S IT.
God, the sight of them made my skin crawl. On top of that, â€œSleep No Moreâ€ is filmed entirely in the found footage style, something I believe is a first forÂ Doctor Who. Itâ€™s a style thatâ€™s so pervasive in horror that itâ€™s hard to do it wellÂ andÂ keep the story interesting, but there were at least a few things here that separated the story from everything else Iâ€™d seen. (Though now Iâ€™m reminded of my favorite found footage movie,Â Chronicle. SO GOOD.) From the beginning, Rasmussen made it clear that what we were watching wasnâ€™t just found footage; it was his assembly of footageÂ heÂ found, a context that made this a lot stranger than I expected. The camera switches from helmet cams to surveillance cameras and GUESS WHAT THATâ€™S NOT EVEN TRUE.
More on that in a second. The episode is broken up with Rassmussenâ€™s commentary, which is only made more interesting when we find out that heâ€™s aÂ horriblyÂ unreliable narrator. As entertaining as I found â€œSleep No More,â€ itâ€™s also a very strange story since the whole point of it is to manipulate the charactersÂ andÂ the audience. Upon learning that Rassmussen orchestrated everything as a distraction, I did feel a little cheated. That was only exacerbated by the eventual conclusion, too, which is abrupt and bizarre. The entire episode is a story, thatâ€™s for sure, but itâ€™s a storyÂ forÂ the Sandmen, one thatâ€™s meant to be addicting, exciting, and thrilling, all so that people will watch it and tell others. Theyâ€™ll pass it along and the Morpheus signal will continue spreading, guaranteeing the supremacy of the Sandmen.
Soooooâ€¦ is this a two-parter? Because while the Doctor, Clara, and Nagata all escape, we donâ€™t get any confirmation that they succeeded in stopping the Sandmenâ€™s plan. Obviously, thereâ€™s a meta level to this episode that I appreciate, but IÂ alsoÂ want the story to feel complete. And it doesnâ€™t. What about the Grunts? Will the Doctor ever do anything aboutÂ thatÂ horrible project? Will Nagata stop using the Morpheus machine? Did the three survivors head to Triton and destroy the machines, or is it futile, now that the video got out?
I sense that Gatiss was going after the real-world creepiness that we got from the Weeping Angels, but it doesnâ€™t stuck without a proper conclusion. It just feels like an experiment for the sake of it.
The video for â€œSleep No Moreâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
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