Spectacularly witless, In My Sleep is another depressing reminder of what happens when you give cameras to jocks. Ripped from too many headlines, the plot concerns an L.A. spa masseur, Marcus (Philip Winchester), suffering from both parasomnia and sex addiction and who comes to believe that he may have killed his best bud’s wife in his sleep. Marcus’s sleep disorder and problems with commitment are presumably related and meant to be understood as byproducts of some horrible event from his youth, the details of which his mother (Beth Grant) suspiciously withholds from him.
In sleep he’s haunted by a mysteriously cloaked figure with a keyhole mask (a head-slappingly literal sign that secrets are waiting to be unlocked), and when he doesn’t cuff himself to his bed at the end of the night with the aid of his annoying upstairs neighbor, he almost always ends up half-naked in the fetal position next to his father’s grave. Dude obviously has daddy issues, supported not only by the red herrings—both animate and inanimate—that hilariously abound, but also by the film’s most prominent motif: Winchester’s worked-out physique, an aphrodisiac for all the film’s women that he’s furiously sculpted in response to his deeply buried traumas.
As in David Kittredge’s upcoming Pornography, a Mulholland Drive rip set within the gay porn industry, In My Sleep seems keen on proving with its murder mystery that Angelino’s beefcakes have feelings too. Its solipsism is blinding, but this much is clear: Though the film’s absurd plot machinations suggest writer-director Allen Wolf might have a sweet spot for old-school giallos, his sense of style also implies that he reveres the collected works of Aaron Spelling.