Those who know me well can probably tell you how much I am into the whole sleeping process and what it does to our minds. We're forced to face our fears with nightmares, try to make sense of our dreams, and a select few even have to endure the terrifying reality that is sleep paralysis. I find it all very fascinating though. It's neat to think about some of the more bizarre stuff that makes us tick. So movies about this stuff are something I'm drawn to, i.e. 'Nightmare on Elm Street', 'Inception', 'Waking Life', etc.
You'd think this would be another movie to add to my list, but it's more of a cool concept with a badly written execution. It all starts when an EMP goes off because of... reasons, and everything electronic goes dead. A family of three, Jill (Gina Rodriguez) and her two kids, Noah (Lucius Hoyos) and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) are affected by this with a car accident that throws their car into a lake. As Jill and Noah manage to swim for it while Matilda drowns, but a local manages to revive her. As a result of this EMP, the world is forced awake, and no one can seem to sleep except for two people - a random, unseen woman, who is being kept at a special facility, and Matilda.
From there, it basically becomes a 'Last of Us' situation, where Matilda's immunity to the situation could be the key. Being such a 'Last of Us' fan, of course, this kind of irked me. But I did appreciate that the "monster" (so to speak) was different. The idea of not being able to sleep forever does have me curious as to what could really happen to the body. This is a film that seems to take it to an extreme for dramatic purposes, but to be perfectly fair, it also suggests that the side effects of sleep deprivation are sped up. I don't fully know how much of what the film suggests happens is true, or if it is, how long it's supposed to take for things like organ failure.
One thing I've always found fascinating is the record holder for staying awake. 17-year-old Randy Gardner pulled it off in the winter of '63/'64, doing it as an experiment. He was awake for 11 days, 25 minutes, and found that the deprivation had little effect aside from mood changes (aka "being cranky and needing a nap"). Apparently on the 10th day, he was still able to do things like beat his friend at pinball. On the other hand, he was seen as having not only crankiness, but trouble concentrating, paranoia short-term memory loss, and indeed, even hallucinations (as the film suggests). Ultimately though, after the 11 days, he was in pretty good health, other than odd changes in his natural sleep for a bit (which was probably to be expected).
Anyway, getting back to the film, my humble opinion is that it's Netlfix trying to make another 'Birdbox' while bringing in the general human concepts of 'The Last of Us'. In the end, I don't really get how I feel about it. As mentioned before, it's a cool concept with a poor execution. Parts of it felt extreme, parts of it annoyed me (nothing against the actor, but I did not like Noah at all) and parts of it just didn't make any sense by the end. Honestly, when the big reveal happens you have to wonder about the other people across the globe experiencing the same thing and just how "rare" Matilda actually is. Personally speaking, I'll stick to 'The Last of Us' for what is pretty much the same story - but it actually makes you care in the first 5 minutes.