We’ve all had trouble sleeping, haven’t we? Thoughts that consume our minds and invade our dreams that we can’t shift…well, unfortunately for Robert Adetuyi’s latest feature film, you won’t have trouble sleeping whilst watching. The ‘Stomp the Yard’ and ‘Honey: Rise up and Dance’ director fails to deliver here; resulting in a distinctively average thriller come dark comedy that certainly won’t plague your mind and keep you up at night.

Curiously somber piano music emerges, setting the tone immediately – especially when we see Billy Zane’s Charles enter the scene. Despite his soothing tones, and romantic demeanor something is awry. The lighting shifts, there is blood down one side of his face and an intimate moment between a seemingly happily married couple quickly turns into something sinister. The clichéd, it-was-all-a-nightmare tangent invades the deliberately disorientating scene wherein we are given the backstory in a somewhat patronising manner. Vanessa’s ex-husband Charles recently took his own life, his son Justin didn’t take it well resulting in him being shifted off to an asylum, all while she gets a new husband and is concerned that Justin is set to inherit his father’s fortune and of course, is now on his way to live with her.

TRouble sleepingUltimately this is about suffering one’s own insecurities and projecting them onto everyone else instead of dealing with them head on. The dialogue here dances around the subject, focusing mainly on Justin and there’s no surprises as to where this one is going. Credit where credit’s due, through the sprinkles of satire an eerie sense of being spied on is intricately weaved into every scene; especially when Justin enters this story. Vanessa Angel brings her tormented character to the forefront here projecting vigor alongside Kale Clauson as the creepy stepson riddled with abandonment issues does a good job of sustaining that throughout, with a psychotic flare.

The story arc’s here seem to act as a checkbox; the unstable step son, nightmares, infidelity, suicide and whilst the tone remains ominous and disturbing; some scenes feel like they are out of ‘The OC’ or ‘Gossip Girl’, mere exchanges that fill dead air but don’t contribute to the narrative itself. Strangely evoking ‘Cruel Intentions’, yet at time the performances felt strained, theatrical almost resulting in a clunky portrayal. It’s a dangerous line to walk, trying to crack the cocktail of genres and for ‘Trouble Sleeping’ the satire creeps through the mystery just a bit too much, instantly taking the viewer away from the darker, arguably much more interesting aspects of the tale here.

TRouble sleepingOverall, amiddling thriller that gets rather lost in the large quantities of such things being churned out by the various platforms we all have readily available at our fingertips these days. Tonally, a rather different stance for Adetuyi albeit the light-hearted comedy seeps through the nightmarish situations these characters find themselves in. Don’t expect this one to challenge you and consume it knowing you won’t have any trouble sleeping tonight.