When most people hear the words ‘the sandman’ it usually conjures up images of a pin-striped, barbershop quartet singing that annoying tune of the same name. However, after watching this short piece of epic animation I can safely assure you that 1950’s style, singing, male hairdressers are nowhere to be seen.
The Sandman is everything animation shouldn’t be. It’s dark. It’s gloomy and it doesn’t contain any witty musical numbers sung by washed up Z-List Hollywood stars. Instead, it takes us on a (brief) journey and explores a day in the life of the sandman; that horrible creature which we warn small children of when going to sleep is not an option.
The film takes place in a small house situated on a dimly lit street, on an eerie night; most probably Halloween night (just to make the cliché complete). The time is eight o’ clock exactly and children all over have to put down their portable snare drums and make their way to bed. We are introduced to a small boy who remains un-named throughout the film (however for the purpose of this review I shall refer to him as Eric). After a quick kiss good-night from his mother Eric is sent to bed with only an oil lamp to guide his way up the masses of stairs to the next floor. In his room, we find Eric awake and trembling as the creaking floorboards and bright moonlight send shivers through his body. As this is happening, something is lurking amongst the shadows in the downstairs hallway. Is it the bogeyman? Is it the demon Sandman? Is it his mother putting away his toys? Whatever the being may be, it can sense young Eric’s fear and begins to make its way up the colossal set of stairs to the second floor. It enters the room to find Eric asleep. Obviously distraught that his presence has not caused young Eric to be wide awake, he begins to vent his anger by dancing vigorously around Eric’s bed.
What is Eric’s fate? Will he ever see the morning light ever again? Will the mysterious dancer’s identity ever be revealed?
This review may be seen as a little tongue in cheek. But by no means does this mean the Sandman is a bad film. The puppet animation is done with such precision and accuracy that at times you could be fooled into thinking you were watching animation which has been digitally enhanced with the use of a computer.
The story-line may be a little predictable but while watching I did feel a very slight feeling of nostalgia; from when I was fed the stories of strange creatures living under my bed. This is obviously a good point for anybody wanting to feel like a frightened 5 year old again.
The Sandman lasts for exactly 9 minutes and 18 seconds, in that amount of time you could make and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, walk around the block or just sit down and stare into space. But don’t let me tell you what to do.