The Nightmare – Review

(some spoilers)

If you’re into documentaries but you’re still looking for a solid Halloween movie go to your local Netflix and rent The Nightmare. The Nightmare (2015) was directed by Rodney Ascher, who happens to be the director of Room 237, a documentary about obsessive people obsessing over theories surrounding the movie The Shining directed by the obsessive Stanley Kubrick.

The Nightmare is all about sleep paralysis which is a horrible and really odd sleep disorder where you’re literally paralyzed in a sleeping waking dream state, oh and you usually see a bunch of demons. In The Nightmare a handful of people share their experiences with sleep paralysis. Each person suffers from sleep paralysis mostly to a pretty extreme degree, giving descriptions that are quite skin crawling. The documentary sits down with each person and gives them a chance to give their perspective of what they deal with and what they think it may mean.

How they show the nightmares makes the film too. They use some truly creepy reenactments that make you thank god you don’t suffer from sleep paralysis (much apologies if you do). For the most part the reenactments work well, but every so often it’ll be a little too noticeable that the shadow man that was creeping you out is just a guy in a black “green man suit”.

One of the creepiest aspects of The Nightmare is the similarity in each “subjects” description of the nightmares they experience while in their states of sleep paralysis. The film even shows us examples of these common “sleep paralysis nightmares” in folklore, art, and movies from the past. After watching The Nightmare it’ll be clear that sleep paralysis is something that may run deep in human history.

The Nightmare does a great job reenacting the nightmares that the film’s subjects go so deep into describing. It also does a great job showing the connections sleep paralysis has with humans as a whole (I think). But the film falls short in providing any professional scientific explanation or opinion or input at all, not even from some type of psychiatric perspective which I think would have benefitted the film, although I understand if they were just trying to capture the human perspective through these peoples’ powerful nightmare experiences alone, which in a way they did. Another thing The Nightmare does that I really liked was showing the way people interpreted their “paralysis nightmares” differently, much differently in many cases. In my professional medical opinion (not a professional medical practitioner) I think mostly it’s caused from bad childhoods that imprint weird memories and super active imaginations mixed with Inception level dreaming skills, but thats just me…

The Nightmare gets… 3.5/5 Stars

If you liked The Nightmare or didn’t like it let us know what you think, and if you suffer from sleep paralysis watch The Nightmare on Netflix, thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Snagged from

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