It’s a case of art imitating life – and boy, this horror anthology certainly does a very good job of it. Sleep Tight brings together a bunch of young social media influencers in starring roles.
But the talents’ massive real-life virtual reach is not what imparts “realness” into this super fun and wildly addictive short-and-sorrowful offering.
Instead, what makes the show unnervingly realistic is its employment of social media as the cradle of many evils – like, literally.
If that idea about Facebook and Twitter as the Big Bad sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because Sleep Tight plays up to our subconscious fear about how social media and technology are ultimately leading to the decay of society.
It’s the kind of I-told-you-so that parents are likely to dish to their Snapchat-savvy kids.
“Mum, I’m taking an Uber ride home after college today.”
“Honey, it’s not safe to get into a car with a stranger.”
“Dad, I just met the most brilliant girl online.”
“Son, are you even sure the person is real?”
The above hypothetical conversations wouldn’t be far off from what teenagers might have with their parents IRL (that’s Twitter speak for “in real life”).
Sleep Tight takes the aforementioned, twist them to the highest heights of perversion, and infuse them into terrifying storylines.
With this well-developed anthology, executive producer and show runner Jason Perlman has crafted stories that are respectably old school horror (old dilapidated homes, floors creaking in the nights, door at the end of a dark alley, etc) with a fresh spin that millennials and Gen Z will be able to relate to.
The standout episode Exorsitter is the best example about how Sleep Tight has the potential to be a crowd favourite among the old and young.
In the episode, Marianne (Jessica Garcia) tries to keep her cool while babysitting a girl who has been possessed by a demon.
What do teenagers do in this scenario? Why, call your flamboyant best friend of course.
And in true The Exorcist fashion, the comedic duo enlists the help of a priest.
But this isn’t your average priest. He is one that is found on Google, chanting verses from the Holy Bible, over a weak WiFi connection.
In another episode called Special Red, Perlman tackles the annoying issue of Facebook game requests. But in this case, serious consequences follow when you decide to ignore the request.
If anything, the series offers stories that are filled with plenty of suspense and terror, while remaining culturally relevant.
Riding With The Devil, for one, revolves around best friends Tina (Iliana Raykovski) and Amy (Alyx Weiss) who need to fend off a creepy ride-sharing app driver.
And on Feed, the issue of catfish is explored. Aidan (Beau Brooks) meets his dream girl online and can’t wait to see her in person.
But when he finally meets her, he quickly discovers that she isn’t the girl he thought she was… she may not even be human.
For those who consume YouTube more than they do satellite TV, the fact that Sleep Tight features at least one prominent YouTube talent in each episode might be enough of a reason to watch.
But for people who couldn’t care less about names like Meg DeAngelis, Janoskians, Jenn McAllister and Maddi Bragg, the series still holds plenty of thrills and surprises that extend beyond its big influencer names.
Teens with big problems
The acting is surprisingly good (despite what detractors might say about YouTubers).
And it helps that Perlman has populated this anthology with solid characters; there’s no typical me-against-the-world teenagers here.
What there is, though, are teenagers grappling with big problems in a big world made eerily smaller by social media and technology.
That’s a universal problem we can all follow.