Gruesome Reviews Super Scary Shorts Saturday

[Review] Laura Hasn’t Slept [FilmQuest]: The Face of Fear Awaits a Young Woman’s Slumber

Writer/director Parker Finn’s terrific short film Laura Hasn’t Slept combines the concept from the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (along with other horror properties) of avoiding sleep so as not to confront a horrific entity with the theme of mental illness. The result is a stirring effort led by an incredible performance from Caitlin Stasey.

Stasey portrays Laura, who is visiting her psychiatrist Dr. Parsons (Lew Temple) because she can’t bear to sleep, thinking that she will see the real face of a nocturnal terror who haunts and taunts her when she slumbers. Parsons does his best to find the reasons behind Laura’s fears, but it may all be for naught . . .

Laura Hasn’t Slept has many positive qualities, but for me the main driving force is Stasey’s performance. She is on screen in a majority of the shots, and owns each appearance. The emotion she conveys is riveting and utterly believable. Temple also does a solid job, to be sure, but has less screen time. 

Finn tells a grueling, gripping full story in Laura Hasn’t Slept, but the short is also an appetite whet for a full feature version. He shows a masterful hand with building tension and delivering a payoff, and with making every frame look terrific.

Among the many other things Laura Hasn’t Slept has going for it are the fine special effects by Nelson Cooper and the marvelous visual effects from Sean Findley and Nicolaus Waetjen. Together with the top-notch cinematography work of Dan Clarke, the short is a true feast for the eyes. Dan Kenyon’s sound design and Rob Himebaugh’s score make it equally impressive for the ears, as well.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Laura Hasn’t Slept won Director’s Prize for Overall Cinematic Achievement at FilmQuest 2020, which took place online and at The Velour in Provo, Utah, from May 21–29, 2021. 

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.