The Nightmare (2015) Horror Movie Review


“The Nightmare,” directed by Rodney Ascher, is not your typical documentary. Rodney Ascher is responsible for another great horror documentary called Room 237.  Released in 2015, it delves into the chilling world of sleep paralysis, a phenomenon that leaves its victims totally immobilized while experiencing vivid and often terrifying hallucinations. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has since intrigued and horrified audiences in equal measure.

Ascher’s approach to the subject matter is deeply personal, as he himself has suffered from sleep paralysis. This personal connection permeates through the film, as he chooses not to rely on scientific experts or diagrams but instead focuses on the harrowing experiences of those afflicted. The result is a documentary that feels much like a horror film, complete with a suspenseful color palette and camera techniques designed to immerse the viewer into the nightmarish experiences of the interviewees.

The film’s strength lies in its storytelling. Ascher interviews various individuals who suffer from sleep paralysis, allowing them to share their stories in their own words and spaces. These narratives are then brought to life through eerie re-enactments that are as compelling as they are frightening. The use of low lighting and unconventional camera angles adds to the unsettling atmosphere, making the viewer’s own home feel like a potential stage for these nocturnal terrors.

Critically, “The Nightmare” has received a mix of praise and criticism. It holds a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 69 on Metacritic, indicating generally favorable reviews. Critics have noted the film’s ability to function both as a documentary and a thriller, delivering a uniquely disturbing viewing experience. However, some have pointed out the repetitive nature of the stories and the lack of scientific explanation as weaknesses.

Despite these criticisms, “The Nightmare” succeeds in bringing attention to a condition that is often misunderstood and dismissed as mere bad dreams. It opens up a conversation about the terrors that can occur in the space between waking and sleeping, a topic that is universally relatable yet rarely discussed with such visceral honesty.

In the Nutshell

“The Nightmare” is a thought-provoking and spine-chilling documentary that blurs the lines between reality and the horrors of the mind. It’s a must-watch for those interested in the darker aspects of the human experience and the mysteries that still elude our understanding of sleep and dreams. Whether you’re a horror fan or simply curious about the peculiarities of sleep disorders, “The Nightmare” is sure to leave a lasting impression.  I gave 3 out of 5 stars.

If you already saw this movie, help us rate the movie by click on the Star Rating.


Genre: Documentary

You can watch on: 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.