The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Movie Review – Horror on Tubi

Horror, Found Footage, Mockumentary | 81 Min
The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review
  • Director: Kendall Whelpton, Vera Whelpton
  • Actors: Cory Heinzen, Jennifer Heinzen, John Huntington, Brian Murray, Richel Stratton, Kendall Whelpton, Vera Whelpton
  • Producers: Kendall Whelpton, Vera Whelpton, Corey Frost
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Parental: Language, Boredom
  • Horror, Found Footage, Mockumentary | 81 Min

The world-famous house that inspired The Conjuring film has recently been sold and is now open to paranormal investigations. With special access a small group of filmmakers and paranormal investigators are allowed to move into the famously haunted home for two weeks in hopes of capturing evidence. During this time the group will be experiencing investigating and documenting every moment. Will they be able to make it through their stay? Do malevolent spirits still haunt this home or is it something more sinister?

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another Horror Movie Review. Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more? Because we have yet another awful Tubi horror movie to look at today. We will be reviewing Found Footage Horror The Sleepless Unrest: The Real Conjuring Home. 

For those of you who don’t know which is, potentially, all of you. For the month of June we are reviewing nothing but low budget movies from Tubi. If it looks crap, we are watching it. Tubi has a ton of fantastic horror. Some of which we have recommended in a few lists. But it has also become the dumping ground for those horror movies that didn’t come out of the oven looking quite right.

We have covered a few of these so far. Only one of which, ReSet, was remotely enjoyable. Sure, horror reviewers have been fawning over Bed Rest. But most horror reviewers don’t know sugar from shit. Especially when you put a Hollywood, high budget sheen on it. The audience strongly disagrees with them and so do I. Anyways, it is time to grab a baggy because we have another tightly coiled turd to scoop up.

Another Awful Title

Christ! I thought yesterday’s movie “Something Walks in the Woods” had a bad title. Sleepless Unrest: The Real Conjuring Home makes that one look positively inspired. Aside from Sleepless Unrest sounding like a Japanese Role playing Game. Adding “The Real Conjuring Home” to it just makes it sound like you are capitalising on a much more popular franchise. Funnily enough, that is exactly what this movie is doing.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

Sleepless Unrest follows a group of “investigators” spending some time at the real conjuring house. Apparently it went up for sale recently. Some people bought it and they have been experiencing strange goings on. They have, also, been milking the hell out of it. They have invited some people in to get to the bottom of the mystery. The intrepid group packs some cameras and brings along their “YouTube, TikTok, Social Media Influencer, Ghost Hunt Mega Box of Ghost Hunt Find spooky Ghost Tools” from AliExpress. Sets up camp and, generally, does nothing for the next hour. *Excitement!*

I actually quite like the idea of a found footage paranormal investigation. Let’s be real, Grave Encounters proved that you can do this exact thing and make a great movie. The one caveat is that something has to happen. There needs to be consequence or something to invest in. You can’t begin and end at “paranormal investigation”. That doesn’t make for an interesting singular premise. Well, that’s exactly what we have with Sleepless Unrest.

Full disclosure. I had to watch this movie over two sittings. We were lying in bed falling asleep as the characters rambled on about something inconsequential. I checked the runtime left and was horrified to realise the movie had only been on 30 minutes. We decided, for our own sanity, to postpone it to the next night for fear of falling into a terrible horror induced coma.

Another Awful Found Footage

I think I am starting to recognise some of the signs of terrible found footage. I know many of you will find this statement a little bizarre. Probably making the safe assumption that most found footage horror is terrible. But I genuinely love Found Footage. The cheap, D.I.Y, aspect of it is something I find endearing. I’ll always gravitate towards the genre. Purely because of the level of innovation needed to make these types of films. 

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

The only problem is, I seem to be watching awful movie after awful movie. Sure, the cycle is occasionally broken up by some decent flicks here and there. Butterfly Kisses and Host being a couple of them. But the vast majority seem to be a group of friends or one person. Grabbing a camera, writing a basic outline for a horror movie and setting out to disappoint, and waste the time of, viewers. 

I think there is an element of aposematism at play, here. Much like the Poison Dart Frog has bright colours to warn potential predators of its toxicity. Bad found footage horror has terrible titles, poor cover art and a cast playing “Themselves” rather than characters. I should have known Sleepless Unrest would be bad. It has all three of those things. Lesson learned, I guess.

Utterly Boring

Before I start, I should clear something up. This question pops up on Google so I think it needs answering. No, Sleepless Unrest is not real. Yes, Sleepless Unrest is fake. It is just a horror movie. None of the things seen in the movie actually happen. Which really makes me wonder what people were actually watching. Virtually nothing happens in this movie. I am assuming the inclusion of investigators from the awful recasting of the TV show Ghost Hunters is responsible for that. They really go out of their way to present the things as low key and believable. Much to the detriment of the film.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

Like yesterday’s Tubi horror Something Walks in the Woods. Sleepless Unrest tries to get by purely on horror tropes. Never actually delivering on anything truly scary. It has the distinct feeling of a YouTube video. Only without the hyperactive personalities that tend to come along with that medium. 

The movie plays out in a very predictable pattern. Something strange happens. The investigators set up a toy to confirm the spooky goings on. The strange thing happens again for confirmation. Rinse and repeat with a completely different strange event and a new ghost investigation toy. It’s bland and completely repetitive.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

Night vision cameras and dark attics offer a dim hope of something interesting happening. Only, nothing ever comes of it. Just more minor horror tropes and a group of people acting like they were just groped by the frosty hand of Annabelle herself. How the makers of Sleepless Unrest managed to waste a location with so much horror history is beyond me. But that brings me onto another point. 

Problems Start at the Source

Referencing the Conjuring name is something of an interesting move. The horror series has been wildly popular. The number of franchises that have spun off from it have also made a huge impact. Throughout its existence, The Conjuring has equaled money. Which is probably why the makers of Sleepless Unrest were so keen to fit the name into their title. 

The problems really start with the whole premise itself, though. If we are to dismiss the fact that the Warrens were complete and utter frauds. And just take the house for what it is. It’s hard to ignore just what a boring location it is. It isn’t particularly scary and It isn’t filled with the relics of the Warren’s investigations. It is just a house. A bit old, a bit beaten up, and very boring.

A Wasted Opportunity

The fact that the film-makers here don’t actually manage to do anything with the source is an even bigger issue. There are no real references to hauntings associated with the Warrens. They aren’t chasing Annabelle around the house. The Enfield poltergeist doesn’t pay them a visit to borrow a cup of sugar. It is just generic, haunted house, horror fodder that goes nowhere.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

The worn out paranormal found footage devices at play are likely to inspire eye rolls, as well. From pointless scenes of the cast chatting. To mockumentary style interviews and night vision. We are presented with a menagerie of found footage tropes. Each of which is predictable and rather worn out. There is very little in the way of innovation here.

Sleepless Unrest really hints at something far more interesting happening. Especially when it evokes the name of the Conjuring. Unfortunately, it never delivers. As the ending rolls around. You will realise that the movie never peaked. In fact, the movie was completely content to cruise along like a Honda Jazz on a 60mph road. Never searching for second gear and never putting its foot on the accelerator. 

A Competent, Yet Annoying, Cast

Although I am rather tired of seeing casts playing “themselves”. It is, likely, a product of people who are really not actors playing roles in movies they help produce. But it would be nice to see developed characters and some actual acting in movies like this. The cast here do an okay job. Most of them are from the crappy re-imagining of Ghost Hunters that everyone is hating at the moment. Meaning they have experience on camera.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

They are enthusiastic, if nothing else. I am assuming they all know each other. There is a distinct vibe of “friends making a movie together” about the whole thing. Making the group dynamics feel, at least a little, organic. They are going to annoy the hell out of you, though. Especially with the shouting and general infantile shenanigans. 

The character’s exaggerated excitement at the menial and mundane things taking place. Really starts to get old after awhile. I wish I could share in their excitement. This really adds to the YouTube video feeling of the movie. Robbing the material of authenticity and gravity. The lack of consequence to everything that happens doesn’t help, either.

Cinematography is Actually Decent

Cinematography is, actually, a cut above the recent found footage horror we have watched. This is an experienced crew, after all. There is very little in the way of overexposure with outdoor shots. Nighttime shots look decent. There is limited movement of the camera and everything feels sharp and crisp. There are even some nice drone shots. It seems like Sleepless Unrest was filmed by someone who knows how to setup a camera. A nice change for found footage on Tubi. Direction was a problem. There are lots of inconsequential scenes here. Plenty of padding, some pacing issues and the cast can, sometimes, seem a little lost.

The Sleepless Unrest (2021) Horror Movie Review

The movie appears to be retro-scripted. A lot of the dialogue feels fairly organic. The cast seemed to know what they were supposed to be discussing. Their reactions, though hyperbolic, were fairly appropriate for the scene. The story is, basically, non-existent. This is a series of horror sequences loosely tied together. The ending of the movie is incredibly lacklustre, as well. It is very difficult to get invested in what is going on.

Final Thoughts and Score

Sleepless Unrest is yet another bad Tubi found footage horror movie. Despite having a fairly interesting premise. As well as a link to a wildly popular horror franchise in The Conjuring. Sleepless Unrest doesn’t manage to bring anything to the table. Feeling like a YouTube paranormal investigation video for much of its length. This is a movie content to lazily bask in tired and worn out found footage horror tropes.

It is not scary, the events are inconsequential and the story is, almost, completely absent. Viewers will struggle to find anything to invest in and the movie provokes eye rolls for its use of found footage devices. Despite being well filmed and having an enthusiastic, albeit annoying, cast. This is a difficult recommend for fans of horror. People who enjoy online paranormal investigations may find something to like here. Everyone else should stay away from the Conjuring house.. Not for fear of demons or poltergeists; but for fear of horrifying boredom.

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