The Insomniac (2013/14)




John Figg (Eddy Salazar) has it pretty good. He's recently received a big time promotion at the investment firm he works for. He has a hot, young, southern belle of a girlfriend, Martha (Clare Grant). The only black cloud that seems to be darkening John's sky is the loss of his father. Still even his fathers death has a silver lining as John inherits his fathers late 60's Pontiac convertible and his fathers former home, a nice 2000+ square foot modern house in a respectable neighborhood that also happens to be extremely close to his job.

Everything is coming up Figg until he comes out to go to work one morning and finds his fathers convertible missing. The thieves are at least nice enough to leave a yellow post it note with the word "thanks" scrawled across it. Disheartened, but not down and out, John still manages to land a big meeting with the firm's top client Jairo Torres (Danny Trejo). He phones Martha who assures him she's locked up the house and left the key in the mailbox. John returns home at the end of the day and not only finds the door propped open but his home ransacked. He place is trashed. His dog is missing. His fathers ashes are strewn across the living room.

After the police seem less than enthused about finding the burglars, John begins doing a little investigating himself. He starts staying up nights, observing the neighborhood, documenting whatever leads or theories he may have. His obsession leads to insomnia. His insomnia leads to madness. In his madness everyone from his neighbor, to his best friends, to Martha becomes a suspect.

The Insominac is not your traditional horror film. There is certainly not a gore factor or anything like that going on here (there are only two deaths - and they are rather innocuous). It's more of a psychological thriller, showing one mans decent into madness when faced with his growing obsession.

Co-Written by star Salazar, The Insomniac is the type of film that can be made from any number of perspectives and taken in any number of different directions. Showing everything from Johns perspective means that the lead actor, Salazar in this case, needs to be able to carry the entire film on his back. Unfortunately Salazar is just not able to do that. The second act of the film, which is essentially Figg's descent and other characters swirling around him falls flat because Salazar seems to buckle under the pressure of carrying the film.

That being said...Salazar is really damn good in the third act. Once he's reached bottom and actual non-psychological things start happening, Salazar really steps up. That's the main driving narrative behind The Insomniac - patience. The first act is a bit clunky (but acceptable), the second act is painful at times, the third act is really, really, good.

There are some gaping plot holes,that as a fellow writer I wish someone would have addressed. The fact that there only seems to be one other family in the neighborhood that John bothers talking to about the robbery is distracting. And I guess it's my New York paranoia, but leaving a house key in a mailbox just seems like a bad idea - regardless of the neighborhood, but especially in one where you;ve already had your car stolen.

In the end, The Insomniac is a good little psychological thriller. If you have the patience for the first two acts, the third act is more than rewarding, if not maddening. Maddening in the "why can't the whole film be this good" way. Still, there enough good here to recommend you check it out.

The Insomniac hits DVD January 21st, 2014. Check it out and support indie film.

*** stars out of *****

Thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich"

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