Rodney Ascher (Room 237) explores the terrors of sleep paralysis in The Nightmare. There are people who suffer from a mysterious sleeping condition, where they feel like they are awake, yet they find that they cannot move. Many of those suffering from sleep paralysis have visions of shadowy figures coming at them in the darkness. Eight individuals tell their sleep paralysis stories, which are told through terrifying recreations.
Sleep paralysis is a medical condition that many people experience, even though very little is known about it. The paralysis happens when the individuals are in between being asleep and fully awake and many do not feel like they are dreaming. Sleep paralysis is a heavy influence on horror films, including A Nightmare on Elm Street and Insidious. The cause of sleep paralysis is unknown and while some may believe it is merely something in the individual’s head, others believe that they are experiencing something supernatural or demonic.
Described as a horror documentary, Rodney Ascher tackles the subject of sleep paralysis through a series of well-produced, and often terrifying, re-enactments. A common thread in many sleep paralysis stories are the “shadow men,” who appear in the room. The film allows the stories to play out as, the subjects retell them, and the audience is allowed to make their own conclusions about what is happening. Are these shadowy figures merely hallucinations or is there something else going on? Either way, The Nightmare gets quite intense and you will probably have trouble sleeping afterwards.
★ ★ ★ ★ 1/2 | REALLY LIKED IT
- Tue, Apr 28, 1:15 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
- Sat, May 2, 9:15 PM – Revue Cinema
- Sun, May 3, 9:30 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 1