22 Horror Movies About Sleepwalking

A new reason to be afraid of the dark.

Dario Argento’s Phenomena (1985) is about a student (Jennifer Connelly) who witnesses a murder while sleepwalking.

If you’ve ever encountered a sleepwalker or tend to move around at night yourself, you know it can be a horror on its own. Nearly everyone has some sort of shocking story depicting strange behavior enacted in the middle of the night by a somnambulist. Naturally, horror movies take the terror up a notch, blurring the lines between reality and nightmares. If you’re someone who already struggles to get a good night’s rest after a horror movie, these films about sleepwalking will give you something new to be afraid of in the dark. 

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

In this 1920 German silent horror film, a young man, Francis (Friedrich Feher), and his friend Alan (Hans Heinrich von Twardowski) attend a fair in the village of Hostenwall. At the event, an intriguing sideshow attraction features Mr. Caligari (Werner Krauss), whose main exhibit is a somnambulist, Cesare (Conrad Veidt), lying in a coffin-like box. With Dr. Caligari’s command, Cesare answers questions from the audience with the ability to tell the future. Alan asks how much longer he has to live, and to his horror, he’s told he’ll be dead by dawn. Sure enough, Alan is stabbed to death by a mysterious figure in the night. Francis is convinced Dr. Caligari is using a form of mind control to force Cesare to commit crimes in his sleep. While you may think you can predict the ending, this film has an excellent twist ending.

Phenomena (1985)

Jennifer is the daughter of a celebrity who sleepwalks and talks to insects.

Phenomena is a 1985 Italian giallo-horror film revolving around Jennifer Corvino (Jennifer Connelly), the daughter of a famous American actor, who is studying at the Swiss Richard Wagner Academy for Girls. One night, while sleepwalking, she witnesses a murder at the boarding school. She befriends a Scottish entomologist, Professor John McGregor (Donald Pleasence), and his pet chimpanzee, Inga. Jennifer uses her unique ability to communicate telepathically with insects to team up with Dr. McGregor to investigate the disappearances. After Dr. McGregor is murdered, Jennifer stays at the house of her legal guardian, Frau Brückner, while waiting for her flight back to Los Angeles. However, the serial killer is already after her.

See also: Dario Argento Movies — The ‘Master of Horror’

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

While all of the Nightmare films are about the thin line between dreaming and waking life (especially when Freddy Krueger is present), Dream Warriors specifically has a character who is a sleepwalker.

This Wes Craven classic centers around a group of teenagers at Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital who are tormented with nightmares of Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Naturally, each of the patients has their own demons they’re fighting (aside from, of course, Freddy). One teen, Phillip (Bradley Gregg), is a kid from the streets with a violent streak and also happens to sleepwalk. As Krueger targets the group, another patient, Kristen Parker (Patricia Arquette), uses her power to bring others into her dreams to attempt to save them. Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp), a survivor from the original Nightmare on Elm Street, now works as a psychiatrist at the hospital and teams up with the teenagers to fight Freddy in the dream world.

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Sleepwalkers isn’t really about sleepwalkers. It’s about shapeshifting vampires whose only natural enemy are domestic housecats.

Sleepwalkers is a horror film written by Stephen King and brought to life by director Mick Garris. The “sleepwalkers” in this movie are a vampiric shapeshifting race, and Charles Brady (Brian Krause) and his mother, Mary (Alice Krige), are the last remaining members. The sleepwalkers sustain themselves by consuming the life force of virgin women. Although they typically take human form, they’re able to morph into large bipedal cats at will. They must find a way to find food and survive, fighting against the locals and their only known adversaries: domestic cats.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994)

Heather Langenkamp’s on screen nightmares leak into real life in New Nightmare.

In this meta supernatural installment in the Nightmare franchise, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is now a fictional movie villain who is able to invade the real world, haunting the cast and crew involved in his films. Heather Langenkamp begins to receive eerily familiar phone calls from a Freddy Krueger-like voice. She also starts to have violent experiences surrounding her and her son, Dylan (Miko Hughes), who’s having sleepwalking episodes and nightmares. As Freddy’s presence becomes more pronounced, Heather must step into her character Nancy’s shoes to defeat him once and for all.

Donnie Darko (2001)

An imaginary (?) man in a demented bunny costume tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds.

Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a troubled teen who inadvertently escapes a jet engine crashing into his room due to his habitual sleepwalking. He starts to have visions of a man in a creepy rabbit suit named Frank (James Duval), who tells him the world will end in just over 28 days. As the countdown begins, the enigmatic Frank continues to appear to Donnie during his sleepwalking episodes, starting a series of bizarre events. Donnie begins to explore the concept of time travel in an attempt to save everyone from impending doom.

See also: ‘Donnie Darko’ Explained

Silent Hill (2006)

Supposedly, an adaptation of Silent Hill 2 is coming to the screen.

Based on the popular video game of the same name, this film’s story revolves around Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) and her adopted daughter, Sharon (Jodelle Ferland), who’s been experiencing nightmares and sleepwalking incidents related to an eerie town. To better understand what’s causing the disturbances, the two head to Silent Hill, West Virginia, an abandoned town due to a massive coal seam fire. After a car accident near their destination, Rose wakes up to find Sharon missing. During her search, she uncovers the little girl’s disturbing connection to Silent Hill’s dark past.

Don’t Fall Asleep (2010)

Janice (Ashley Hinson) worries she may be committing murders while sleepwalking.

Janice (Ashley Hinson) and Sam (Daniel Allen Kent) are excited to move into their new home, though they’re unaware of its dark past. Roughly fifty years earlier, the former owner, Isabel (Zoey Sidwell), murdered her husband and his lover in a fit of jealousy. As the two settle into the new house, Janice starts sleepwalking like she had done in the past. She also starts having disturbing visions of a German woman and large amounts of blood. When people in their neighborhood start to disappear, Janice can’t help but wonder if she’s somehow responsible for the string of murders.

Sleepwalker (2011)

A woman wonders whether her nightmares have something to do with her husband’s disappearance in Sleepwalker.

This Hong Kong horror movie follows Ziyi (Angelica Lee), a woman who can’t seem to stop having dreams of standing alone in a desolate wasteland, with an unsettling knowing that there’s something buried beneath the ground. To make matters worse, she’s approached by detective Madam Ou (Huo Siyan) to assist in the investigation of her missing husband. As her dreams seem to blend in with reality, she wonders if she had something to do with his disappearance. The shocking truth is finally revealed when Ziyi leads Madam Ou to the scene of her dreams, and it’s not what you’d expect.

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal (2012)

A sleepwalker satiates his nighttime hunger for flesh in Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal.

This dark comedy horror movie centers around Lars Olafssen (Thure Lindhardt), a once-celebrated artist who presently can’t seem to find the inspiration to paint. To attempt to reignite his creativity, Lars begins teaching in a small town, where he becomes the caregiver to Eddie (Dylan Smith), a man with a rare sleepwalking condition. Lars discovers that Eddie’s sleepwalking condition is a little dark. Rather than raiding the fridge at night, he devours human flesh during his episodes. Although initially horrified, Eddie quickly becomes Lars’s muse. Now, Lars must grapple with his new moral dilemma: does he do something to keep there from being more victims, or does he do whatever it takes to make stunning new works of art?

Honeymoon (2014)

A sleepwalking incident turns a couple’s honeymoon into a horror movie in Honeymoon.

Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) are newlyweds who planned their honeymoon in Bea’s family’s cabin located in a remote Canadian forest. What begins as a romantic getaway turns into a panic-stricken Paul when Bea goes missing in the middle of the night. When he finds her in the woods, she’s naked and disoriented, and explains that it was just a sleepwalking episode. However, Bea’s behavior becomes increasingly strange over the next few days as she forgets how to do basic tasks, struggles to speak, and talks to herself. Strange marks also keep appearing on her body. As her identity fades away, Paul begins to suspect that more than just sleepwalking led her to the woods. 

Good Manners (2017)

Sleepwalking episodes are a sign something is not right with Ana (Marjorie Estiano) and her pregnancy.

This dark fantasy horror movie tells the story of Clara (Isabél Zuaa), a woman who begins working as a housekeeper and nanny for a wealthy woman named Ana (Marjorie Estiano) and her unborn child. As the two women grow closer, Ana tells Clara about her estranged family and the complications surrounding her pregnancy. At first, her doctor’s advice to avoid meat seemed somewhat normal. However, she begins exhibiting odd behavior during nights when the full moon is out and starts having sleepwalking episodes. Once she gives birth, it becomes clear that Ana’s child is not ordinary.

Sleepwalker (2017)

Sleepwalking leads to Sarah (Ahna O’Reilly) waking to a living nightmare.

Although Sleepwalker isn’t technically a horror film, this psychological mystery has plenty of eerie moments. Sarah Foster (Ahna O’Reilly) is a college student who’s been suffering from a sleep disorder that involves sleepwalking after her husband’s suicide. She visits a university sleep research center to find answers to her problems. However, after her first night of being monitored, Sarah wakes up in a different room in a seemingly new reality. As her world continues to change, she runs into people who don’t remember her, and it seems her entire identity has shifted.

Slumber (2017)

A sleep demon in Slumber is likely based on the real life phenomena of sleep paralysis.

Alice Arnold (Maggie Q) is a sleep doctor who’s still distraught about the mysterious death of her younger brother. The Morgan family claim they’re all being haunted by a demon who’s causing them to exhibit violent behavior. The parasitic demon, the Night Hag, paralyzes its victims while they sleep. As Alice dives deeper into this complex case, she discovers the Night Hag was also responsible for her brother’s death. Now, Alice must figure out how to protect the family from the demon so they don’t meet the same fate as her sibling.

Clinical (2017)

A sleepwalking patient troubles a psychiatrist in Clinical.

This psychological horror follows Dr. Jane Mathis (Vinessa Shaw), a psychiatrist who specializes in confrontational therapy. After she survives a violent attack from one of her patients, Nora Green (India Eisley), who attempted suicide in her office, Jane develops PTSD and sleep paralysis. Despite the traumatic event, she reluctantly takes on a new patient, Alex (Kevin Rahm), who was disfigured in a car accident. One night, Jane wakes to find Alex sleepwalking inside her house. She continues to have even more strange occurrences in her home as time goes on. However, the truth of what’s been going on comes to light when security footage is shown of what really happens when Jane’s asleep.

Hereditary (2018)

Toni Collette was robbed of an Oscar for her role as Annie Graham.

Hereditary is a psychological horror movie that explores family trauma. Mother Annie Graham (Toni Collette) admits to a horrifying sleepwalking episode where she doused her children in paint thinner and woke up with a match in her hand. While this is horrifying, it is far from the most disturbing part of Hereditary.

Come True (2021)

Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone) endures the sleep study from hell in Come True.

Sarah Dunn (Julia Sarah Stone) is a troubled teenager who’s struggling to make it on her own after running away from home. She regularly deals with surreal nightmares. In an attempt to escape her recurring nightmares and make some extra money, she enrolls in a mysterious sleep study. As the study progresses, her nightmares only seem to get worse. When her sleepwalking episodes begin to manifest elements from her dreams into reality, Sarah discovers she signed up for more than she thought.

Sleep. Walk. Kill. (2022)

A town is infested with sleepwalking killers.

An ominous earth-shattering sound is heard along the entire East Coast, and no one is sure what it is or where it came from. That night, the residents of a quiet suburban town are stunned to discover their friends and family have become sleepwalking psychopaths who begin committing murders in their sleep. Now, the survivors must not only figure out what’s going on but how they’re going to survive another night.

Waking Nightmare (2023)

Grief-induced sleepwalking gets out of control in Waking Nightmare.

Jordan (Shelley Regner) is a young woman who’s having manic episodes and has begun sleepwalking after one of her college friends committed suicide. In seeking help to get a better night’s rest, she visits the family doctor who prescribes her Ambien. Unfortunately, instead of sleeping peacefully, her sleepwalking intensifies, and Jorden finds herself in increasingly dangerous situations. 

More sleepwalking horror movies:

  • The Thing Inside Us (2021) Daniel (Chad Graham) and Shelly (Christine Tonry) are a couple who lost everything to a pandemic, which has left Shelly with an unusual case of sleepwalking.
  • 12 O’Clock (2021) An Indian Hindi-language horror film about a young girl who begins to experience terrifying nightmares and sleepwalking episodes.

Meet The Author

Brandy Eaklor is a writer, artist, and content creator who specializes in entertainment and horror subjects. Her favorite horror movies are Hereditary and The Strangers.