Most people have a hard time staying in a haunted house for an hour. Some of us even have trouble with haunted houses in theme parks (I like, barely cried). But one film crew recently stayed in the house that inspired James Wan's The Conjuring for two weeks to make the documentary The Sleepless Unrest. That kinda thing can take a toll on a person. Let the record show that it most definitely did.
The crew of The Sleepless Unrest has done a lot of shoots in the past, but this one was different, with the impacts long-lasting. I had a chance to speak with directors Kendall Whelpton and Vera Whelpton about their experience at the film's recent premiere and their stories were enough to shake even the most hardcore ghost hunter or Horror fan.
Being in the house for two weeks really messed up the whole team's psyche. Day three we start getting worn down, day four you can't sleep because things are happening, there's a lot of activity in the house. Coming out of the experience, when you go home, you're still thinking you're in the house, you're attached to the house. You have an overwhelming sense to go back to the house. It's a different beast than I'm used to. I've done over 500 locations and I've only stayed at about 4 of them and doing a long amount of time like this is a different experience.
That sounds unsettling as hell. I thought being locked inside my own apartment alone for most of 2020 took a toll on my mental health, but after hearing how their extended stay with roommates who are beyond the veil impacted them even weeks after filming wrapped, I think I'd prefer quarantine with my cat. This news was especially startling when I learned that the directors are not just your average thrill seekers or filmmakers- they actually met on the set of A&E’s Ghost Hunters and jumped at the chance to document their stay at the location that spawned a Horror franchise that just keeps growing.
Luckily for both paranormal fans and skeptics alike, you can see some of that creepiness for yourself. No doubt this documentary will play well with the morbid curious like me, but it'll also play well for fans of The Conjuring universe, too. Here's what the director told me about why The Conjuring fans should see it.
This is totally different than what we've done in the past. It's exciting and adventurous. It has scares, little horror elements, a few jump scares. You have the documentary aspect which is 100% real, and I think that's way more scary than anything scripted. So, when you see stuff happening in the film, you gotta just ask yourself 'Wait, this is real? This isn't a Hollywood script?' and I think that's the scariest thing of all.
The Sleepless Unrest opens in select theaters and is available on digital and cable VOD July 16th. You can also pre-order the film on iTunes, if you're brave enough.