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Hot Docs 2015 Review: The Nightmare

Rodney Ascher’s The Nightmare is the rare film that works better upon deep reflection.

At the time, it seems to work better as a short film, or perhaps a piece as a part of an anthology, as a full-length film of eight real people in different cities documenting their nightmares accompanied by crude reenactments feels repetitive and perhaps worse, not very scary.

But upon a piecing together of the nature of the project, it is clear that Ascher has more in mind that finding common links between subjects on the topic of sleep paralysis.

A section in the films A Nightmare on Elm Street and Natural Born Killers prove helpful to the sufferers of sleep paralysis is most interesting the first time through. It recalls Room 237 in terms of the power that film holds upon the viewers, which The Nightmare repeats upon its audience

There is something much scarier going on. The common themes encountered here are of Shadow Men and other similar archetypes. In addition, most of the sufferers of sleep paralysis have memories from a very early age seeming to underlie the fact.

Ascher pokes, but does not prod, serving to continue the cycle.

The Nightmare will be out in theatres in the U.S. June 5th, released by Gravitas Ventures

[star v=35]