Marlene, a woman plagued by horrific dreams, suffers a nervous breakdown in a remote village. As her 19-year-old daughter Mona follows, she comes upon a well-kept family secret and an old curse that ultimately threatens her life - a never-ending nightmare…
The idyllic village of Stainbach is being haunted by a mysterious demon. It turns out that the nightmares of Marlene (Sandra Hüller) are responsible for the dark events. She is driving some of the inhabitants of the village insane during her terrible dreams. When she discovers her nightmares are about a real place, she tracks down the village of Stainbach to get to the bottom of the mystery. There, she learns about the consequence of her dreams and suffers a nervous breakdown. Soon after, she is admitted to a psychiatric ward. Her daughter, Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof), journeys to Stainbach to find out the reason for her mother’s breakdown and the demonic nightmares she suffered from. She comes into contact with the peculiar villagers and discovers the dark history hidden within the quiet village. Perhaps the nightmare isn’t the demon that threatens the town after all, but rather - the past.
The psychological thriller SLEEP tells the gripping story of three generations of women fatefully bound together and a village community haunted by a never-ending nightmare. Sandra Hüller, widely known for her stunning performance in the Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann”, and Gro Swantje Kohlhof, one of the leads in the zombie horror “Ever After”, star as a mother-daughter duo in Michael Venus' sinister feature debut. The film was produced by Verena Gräfe-Höft of JUNAFILM, as a co-production with ZDF-Das kleine Fernsehspiel, based on a screenplay written by the director, Michael Venus together with Thomas Friedrich.
– Press Clippings –
“Michael Venus’ debut feature gathers inspiration from a swirl of influences that range from the fairytales of the brothers Grimm to the lost highways of a David Lynch nightmare. Sleep is a challenging tale that constantly feels as it if it slipping from your grasp.”
“With haunting performances, and a sense of warmth created by friendship over family, and the strength of allies that permeate time, space and planes of existence, Sleep is a stunning tale of inherited trauma manifesting as nightmares and the work one has to do to conquer what cannot be physically escaped.”
"Michael Venus Film also works excellently as a pure genre film. It knows how to set moments of tension precisely and uses the genre's patterns in a casual and confident manner...a remarkable film and an outstanding debut."
ToHorror Fantastic Film Festival Torino 2020 (Italy): Special Mention
Anomaly Film Festival Rochester 2020 (USA): Audience Award dor Best Feature