SDAFF 2023 presents Sleep

Gwishin comes for you!

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: January 10, 2024 (URL is not
Available on: Movie Theaters
Content release date: 2023-11-02

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

A young wife pregnant with her first child becomes terrified by her husbands increasingly odd sleep-walking.

This is a very relevant one y’all, for one particular reason – everyone knows what it’s like to have to go without sleep, and what it does to you. Some people go manic, some people fall apart, but every last person knows that desperate feeling of just needing to sleep. And it must be restful, REM-fueled, actual sleeepzzz. None of this catching forty winks with one eye open, falling asleep drooling on the armchair because you’ve been up with a colicky baby for days on end, no honey, you need sleep-sleep. Go pass out.

And Soo-jin (Jung Yu-Mi) is trying to sleep, she really is. Heavily pregnant, Soo-Jin has common worries like every young new mother, but is trying to keep good spirits about the whole affair. And then of course her dutiful, pleasant young husband Hyun-su (Lee Su-jyun) sits up in the middle of a dead sleep and eerily informs her that there’s someone in the house.

That one instance would already be plenty enough to set off alarm bells for normal folk, but Hyun-su’s nightmarish actions are only just beginning. He gets up out of a sound sleep and plods about, scratches himself absolutely raw, gorges on random things from the fridge and generally continues to worry his wife out of her poor hormone-riddled mind. Doctors are seen and all kinds of treatments are tried – drugs, a strict going-to-bed routine, even a cocoon-like sleeping bag that in theory won’t allow Hyun-su to rise at all. And while all this is going on, the unsettling nighttime hauntings of Hyun-su and now Soo-jin, continue with an almost spirit-like insistence.

What to do when all the practical, real-life solutions have been tried? We try some unconventional ones, and Soo-jin’s mother thinks she has the perfect solution – to bring in a shaman friend of hers, for a spiritual reading. And while we fully expect there to be as much drama as possible in a spiritual reading, Soo-jin’s response to what the shaman reveals is an overreaction to the point of encroaching madness.

Things are about to come to a head with some rather final confrontations, mostly to do with the ghost haunting Soo-jin’s idyllic little world, but also, the catastrophes that can come from exaggerating the dangers of the unknown in our loved ones. Soo-jin’s newfound distrust of her poor husband Hyun-su, especially around their newborn daughter, is easily as destructive as any poltergeist, and only adds to her list of potential enemies rather than allies. It’s actually amazing Hyun-su managed to keep up his good spirits, no pun intended, for as long as he did.

Delve into the mysteries of gwishin and the debilitating fears of the human mind, with Sleep!