Jung Yu-mi starring as Soo-jin from Sleep the Korean Movie (2023)

‘Sleep’ and Its Mysterious Ending Are Keeping Me Up Tonight

Sleep (2023) by director Jason Yu is keeping me up tonight. I expected some random, unrelated spirit to be upset at the couple. But who would’ve thought that a stalker turned poltergeist would be so much worse?

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What makes Sleep unsettling is the movie’s way of morphing the truth. I’ve seen Soo-jin, the wife and mother, stay up late in fear of her husband, Hyun-soo. His sleepwalking had made their married life difficult, and it all reached the breaking point when Hyun-soo killed their pet Pomeranian one night while he was asleep.

But what if this isn’t just a case of sleepwalking? There are cases of sleepwalkers who commit crimes, but Hyun-soo has done other strange things during his sleep. Director Yu hasn’t given an explanation regarding the movie’s conclusion. You can use your imagination and interpret anything that’s transpired by the tail-end of the movie as you see fit.

If I’m the one putting on the thinking cap, I’d like to believe that Hyun-soo was suffering from a sleep disorder. Maybe there was a ghost who liked Soo-jin so much that he tormented her marriage with Hyun-soo. But there’s hardly any proof of that, other than a shaman saying that a ghost was inhabiting Hyun-soo’s body.

The sleepwalking theory is far more believable. Soo-jin’s experience with her sleepwalking husband was extreme because it’s rare for sleepwalkers to kill. These crimes happen, but as a former sleepwalker, I was far more concerned with snacking on a few biscuits. Additionally, Hyun-soo acts as if the ghost has taken possession of him and has promised to leave.

Some might think this was the real ghost, but Hyun-soo’s line of work in the movie was acting. He could have done this to appease his frantic wife, who was about to drill the head of their neighbor. Soo-jin lived in fear for her newborn daughter and her sleepwalking husband for months, so it’s likely that the stress had eaten away at her mental state.

(featured image: Lotte Entertainment)


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Vanessa Esguerra
Vanessa Esguerra (She/They) has been a Contributing Writer for The Mary Sue since 2023. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy, she (happily) rejected law school in 2021 and has been a full-time content writer since. Vanessa is currently taking her Master's degree in Japanese Studies in hopes of deepening her understanding of the country's media culture in relation to pop culture, women, and queer people like herself. She speaks three languages but still manages to get lost in the subways of Tokyo with her clunky Japanese. Fueled by iced coffee brewed from local cafés in Metro Manila, she also regularly covers anime and video games while queuing for her next match in League of Legends.