An odd little film based on an unpublished book by Stephen King
follows the story of Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother Mary (Alice Krige), a pair of soul-sucking cat demons called Sleepwalkers. The Sleepwalkers have apparently incredible powers of illusion
, but are critically weak to ordinary housecats
. No, nothing is being spoiled here; they explain exactly what Sleepwalkers are in an expositional fake encyclopedia entry in the first ten seconds of the film.
The titular Sleepwalkers move into the town of Travis, Indiana and try to find a virgin to suck the life out of. Charles starts trying to seduce Tanya (Madchen Amick), who is apparently a virgin
. Their relationship goes a little south when he tries to suck her soul on the first date, and a police officer shows up with an attack cat
named Clovis. Charles is injured, and his mother begins a Roaring Rampage of Revenge
. There are a few random car chases and murders to round out the movie.
It's also notable for being Stephen King's first collaboration with director Mick Garris.
This film contains examples of:
- Big Damn Heroes: Clovis, and his cat army!
- Bittersweet Ending / Downer Ending: The werecats are dead and Tanya and Clovis have survived the day. However, Tanya's parents are presumed dead and multiple cops have been killed during Mary's rampage
- Booby Trap: The Brady house is surrounded by bear traps to keep the cats at bay.
- Cats Are Mean: Well, cat demons are; cats are the heroes.
- Cat Scare: Every possible sense of the phrase gets used at some point or another.
- The Cavalry: Just when things look their worst, we get a shot of Clovis leading an army of cats to the Brady house in slow motion!
- Competence Zone: You know you're in trouble when a movie's competence zone is restricted to cats...
- Corrupt Hick: The state trooper, with a side of Drill Sergeant Nasty.
- Creator Cameo: Stephen King has a brief role as a cemetery groundskeeper.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Police cruisers explode spectacularly with one shot from a handgun. Who knew? Maybe it's somehow performed with sleepwalkers' magic, of course.
- Evil Detecting Cats: All cats hate the Sleepwalkers and swarm to their house to threaten them.
- Eye Scream: Tanya manages to gouge Charles' eyes on two different occasions.
Charles: Tanya, I don't think you're entering into the spirit of this. Why don't you just think of yourself as lunch?
- Glamour Failure: You can see the Sleepwalkers true forms in mirrors. This, and their method of feeding, can make them a bit Our Vampires Are Different.
- Humans Are Useless: While Tanya manages a lot of eye-gouging on the monsters, the only named character who actually does anything useful is Clovis the cat.
- Well the Shieff that came to Tanya's rescue did try, using one of the bear traps on Mary. Not his fault he was up against a supernatural monster.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The sheriff gets body slammed on a picket fence.
- Improvised Weapon: Momma Sleepwalker kills a man by stabbing him with an ear of corn.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: One of the Sleepwalkers' notable abilities is to talk entirely in these during action sequences.
- Invisibility: One of the Sleepwalkers' powers.
- Large Ham: The Bradys. Though his mom chews the scenery, her hammyness rubbed off on Charles.
Charles: Stop looking at me. Stop looking at me!!! Stop looking at me you FUCKING CAT!!!!"
- Made of Explodium: Perhaps the best reason to see this film is for the scene where the monster bursts into flame from a cat attack.
- Made of Iron: The Sleepwalkers can shrug off shotgun blasts and eye removal without any apparent ill effects.
- Mama Bear: The death toll goes way, way up after Charles is incapacitated and Mary gets angry.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: We see the sleepwalkers in three different forms: human, human with cat-like face, and something looking as an anthropomorphic reptilian-skinned cat. The reflection in the mirror always shows them in the third form—presumably the true form with all illusions stripped.
- Neck Snap: More like neck twist but yeah, one unfortunate cat attacking Maya get grabbed and has its neck twisted like a towel before being thrown aside.
- One-Winged Angel: While mirrors show their true forms, the two title characters shift to them late in the movie. Before then, they can partly shift their face to look more cat-like.
- Parental Incest: Between the two Sleepwalkers. They are the last two of their kind though, apparently.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Charles gets hurt, Mary kills Tanya's parents and half the police in the state.
- Shout-Out: The hundreds of cats besieging the Brady house resemble The Birds more than a little.
- Virgin Sacrifice: Sleepwalkers eat the souls of virgins to survive.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Housecats.