Has it happened to you?
You're sleeping soundly only to find yourself thrusted out of a restful slumber by a noise. It could sound like a whisper. It could sound like a crash. It could sound like a gunshot. It could sound like any number of things, but it's the kind of noise that makes you wonder "Should I go explore it?" or "Should I just ignore it and home that some serial killer hasn't broken it right about now?"
Writer/director Carlos A.F. Lopez's latest short film Dream Creep exists in the infinite possibilities of this world. It's a world both achingly familiar yet otherworldly. It languishes somewhere between dream and nightmare. This world is particularly horrifying because we've all been there. We recognize it. We feel it.
David (Ian Edlund) is fast asleep alongside his partner, Suzy (Sidney Jayne Hunt). He awakens to almost faint cries for help emanating from, it would seem, Suzy's earhole. He hesitates. He lurches forward. He listens. He responds.
Dream Creep is borne out of our everyday nightmares, a harrowing and jarring supernatural emergency that feels both ordinary yet otherwordly. You'll have to decide for yourself where it comes from just as if it was you, alone with your partner asleep in your home when a noise awakens and something commands action. Then more action. Then more action. For David and Suzy, this compelling voice demands actions that will either save them or, perhaps, perpetuate the nightmare.
Set for its world premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, Dream Creep is a mesmerizing and unforgettable horror short. In just under 13 minutes, Lopez captures both the ordinariness of daily life and how quickly it can turn. He tells us a story yet, perhaps most disturbingly, reminds us that we too could very well be living this story.
Every frame of Dream Creep is beautifully crafted, Jacob Rosen's stark and intimate lensing uncompromising and bold and immersing us in this world that is simultaneously warm and hospitable and infinitely terrifying. Aaron C. Schroeder's original score comforts us and then strips that comfort away. Frankie Postiglione's production design feels like both lullaby and classic, darkly enveloping fairy tale.
Ian Edlund gives an incredible performance as David, traveling a vast character tapestry that leaves us feeling like we've been awakened from our own slumber and we don't know what to think or do. Sidney Jayne Hunt is just as powerful as Suzy. From the moment Suzy awakens, Hunt rattles our hearts and minds and never lets us go until a final whisper of a brilliant, brilliant shot.
Lopez has crafted a film that makes us both laugh and gasp. Dream Creep doesn't just tell us a story - it challenges us to examine our own narratives and our own infinite possibilities in similar circumstances.
"Has it happened to you?," I hear Carlos A.F. Lopez whisper in my earhole.
"It could," he laughs.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic