If you’re about my age I assume you remember Little Monsters. This little slice of nightmare fuel came out when I was 10 and definitely had some formative influence on my development, namely because Frank Whaley’s Boy scared me so bad I couldn’t sleep for a week. Starring Fred Savage before he became a creep and Howie Mandel while he still had hair, it was your typical ’80s kid-fare that many of us would hesitate to show our own children. Like The Monster Squad it was a gateway to better horror movies, with solid prosthetics and practical effects that made everything feel like a twisted Neverland.
Netflix’s Slumberland feels like a watered down, green-screened version of Little Monsters. Marlow Barkley is Nemo, a young girl who recently lost her father (Kyle Chandler). She’s contacted in her sleep by the satyr-like Flip (Jason Momoa) who roams Slumberland, the land of dreams. After finding a map of the Slumberlands she journeys through the mystical land, escaping nightmares as she searches for a wish that will let her see her father once more. The story is based on the early-20th century New York Herald comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland.
See what I mean? The comparison mostly comes from Momoa’s drunken, scenery-chewing performance as Flip, an outlaw of the Slumberlands who may not be as trustworthy as he seems. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun as he dances across the screen. Painfully obvious CGI environments aside, Slumberland looks like wholesome family fun and drops November 18, in time for Thanksgiving break. And if the CGI pig doesn’t steal the whole movie, I’ll eat my hat.