Director: Rodney Ascher
Cast: Seigfried Peters, Stephen Michael Joseph, Estrella Cristina
91 mins. Not Rated.
I’m not sure how to classify The Nightmare. It’s a horror film. It’s a documentary. It’s a horror-mentary.
The Nightmare is a documentary film covering the lives of eight people who have experienced sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a condition where one would find themselves without the ability to move or speak when falling asleep or waking up. It is met with hallucinations of strange entities surrounding the paralyzed during the episode. It’s a horrifying experience for the victims, and director Rodney Ascher (Room 237, ABCs of Death 2) showcases the horrors with filmed recreations of the nightmares narrated by the very people who experienced them.
The Nightmare works in a way that I didn’t expect it to. I think about the ways in which other paranormal TV shows do the whole re-enactment thing, but what sets Ascher apart from others is that he takes his re-enactments and puts forth the effort to ensure that they get a respectful presentation. These vignettes, for lack of a better word, are little horror films, and the crew ensures that they are treated with a serious and thoughtful tone.
The Nightmare is, without question, one of the best horror documentaries ever made. It is well-shot, thought-provoking, and a little crazy at times while always showing respect to a group of people who are suffering with this condition. It’s a little lengthy at times and some of the theories presented don’t get the full investigation, but this is one to see for both entertainment and education.
-Kyle A. Goethe
For my review of the anthology film ABCs of Death 2, click here.