The Nightmare is a documentary, directed by Rodney Ascher, that follows eight complete strangest from all over the world who suffer from sleep paralysis. A condition that plagues thousands if not millions of people and causes them to see or hear bizarre and sometimes terrifying things while they are on a very thin line between asleep and awake. We follow these eight individuals as they divulge their horrifying experiences which are then film like a cinematic haunted house giving you a gateway into their nightmares.
There came a moment while I was watching The Nightmare that I began to realize that I had suffered from sleep paralysis. I had to move back in with my parents and was going through a very large amounts of stress when I suddenly felt a tingling/electrical current running through my body and I realized I couldn’t move. A warning one of the men said would let him know that he was about to experience a nightmare. I remember I could see and hear someone in the room across from mine and they wanted to pull me into the dark room. Nearly every night for about a month this dark shadowed person would slowly open the door across from mine and come into my room. Sometimes he would stand by my bed, other times he would pull at my feet until I was nearly off the bed and just when I thought he was going to yank me into the dark I would wake up in my bed, gasping for air and terrified out of my mind.
Did that scare you any? If it did then you’d probably get a kick out of this film, if it didn’t, it’s hard to recommend it to you. Each of men and women who are suffering from sleep paralysis spend the 91 minutes of it’s running time recounting their horror stories while the director took the creative approach of reenacting their dreams and while it sometimes works, the illusion is quickly shattered when the camera begins to move through sets from one dream to another. Nearly every one recalls a ‘shadow man’ coming into their bedrooms, something that is reported in cases around the world, but just when the film starts to get really scary it’ll cut to something behind the scenes, or you’ll watch the shadow man move from one set to another, someone will throw a rob or a blanket over them, and the actor will portray the next monster in another nightmare.
After nearly an hour I began to get bored and began to wonder if they would bring in any experts to talk more about sleep paralysis, maybe offer some insight on any know reasons for this condition, if there was anyway to stop it or relieve the symptoms, anything other then a glorified episode of Unsolved Mysteries but that just wasn’t the case.
It’s a good thing this film arrived on Netflix just in time for Halloween because it is something fresh if you’re tired of watching A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, or Halloween and it’s sequels then this is something you should check out for the scare factor because there are some chilling imagery here and it’s almost like you’re sitting around the fire place with some friends and telling scary stories and someone manages to project what you would see in your head. I like this movie a lot for that because if someone can enjoy it on the campfire level then you can have some fun but if you’re looking for some actual deep conversation about sleep paralysis you will be left feeling empty.