One of the films that was featured at this year’s Film4 FrightFest was Rodney Ascher’s THE NIGHTMARE. It’s chilling horror documentary that explores the issues of sleep paralysis and takes it on a very supernatural approach. There have been films such as THE SHADOW people and more that have dealt with this before but this film highlighted the lives of a certain group of individuals. These individuals have been haunted by disorder for sometime and believe that the eerie creatures that visited them explains that much more is at play then the ability to get a good night’s sleep.
In THE NIGHTMARE we meet a select group of individuals that explain their problems with sleep paralysis and how it has also affect those close to them. Set up like an episode of any unexplainable phenomenon show that you would see on the History Channel or Destination America THE NIGHTMARE gives first accounts straight from the mouth of the victims. What sets this documentary apart from those specials is the horrifying visuals provided that turn the film from interview into full on horror in a matter of seconds. A tad bit longer than it needed to be is really the only thing that hurt the THE NIGHTMARE in my opinion but you can’t deny how deep into the paralysis the filmmaker heads. The notion of shadow people and sleep paralysis is something that has been studied around the globe. THE NIGHTMARE does an extraordinary job of breathing new life into the lore while still informing the viewer of the history of phenomenon.
When watching a slew of horror films it’s a great change of pace to see a documentary like THE NIGHTMARE. Dealing with something so many people around the world face is terrifying enough but the inclusion of the horrific reenactments takes the feature over the top. Most fans may only be able to get through an hour of THE NIGHTMARE as the interviews become stagnant. Still it’s a bold look at something real and if you are a person who has dealt with this first hand you may be comforted at knowing that so many have been through this real terror just has you have. Great job by Ascher for breaking down truly one of the scariest things known to man.
3.5 / 5
THE NIGHTMARE is directed by Rodney Ascher.