The Nightmare online movie review - A Documentary that Could've Been So Much More
Who am I? I doubt you know me. For years I have struggled with the horrible experience of sleep paralysis. When I was around the age of 12, I had my first episode.
I didn't know what was going on. I couldn't even call my mom for help. I was fully aware. I had no control of my body. I was experiencing horrible hallucinations. I didn't know how to make it stop. Then, in an instant, it all just cleared.
That next moment, I woke up my parents. It was around 3 am. I was squalling. I thought I had gotten a glimpse of hell. My mom didn't know what I was talking about. After that moment, I began doing some research on the phenomena and found out that it was, in fact, sleep paralysis. It terrified me and made me never want to sleep again. My mom never heard of the experience and though I just had a lucid nightmare. I didn't even sleep for the next night in fear of it happening again. It was, in a short explanation, absolutely terrifying.
After a while, sleep deprivation had taken a toll on my body and I went to sleep afterward and the experience didn't happen again. I thought maybe it was just my imagination... But my consciousness during the situation said something else. It didn't happen again for a couple months. Now I, a 23 year old male, still have these experiences happen once every month or two; sometimes more often if I'm sleep deprived or really stressed. I have extreme fascination in these experiences and have delved into the interest of these experiences and others' reaction to them. My mom doesn't fully believe but after some of others' stories, she has become more open to the idea.
Now I know that was a long, and possibly, unnecessary introduction to this review, but I feel it is vital to my rating because of the fact that I am so use to these experiences. I've become unafraid of them and when it happens I just brace myself and try to get myself to acknowledge these hallucinations are not real.
So now, to the review. As I said earlier, I have a huge interest in this phenomenon and when I heard there was going to be a documentary about it, I couldn't wait to see it, especially with the great reviews it was receiving! I saw the trailer and almost messed my pants. It looked so similar to what I experienced and was so excited to hear others' recollections and what I was left with was a mediocre, pretentious, documentary that I was extremely disappointed with.
Well, where to really start about this review? We begin with people talking about their experiences. There are several stories that are going on simultaneously, but it's never too busy, with some recalling the same shadow people I too experienced and caused me to lose sleep. The main problem with this movie you ask?
Well the main problem and why I gave this a 4/10 is because this documentary is an hour and a half long. 45 minutes of this documentary is taken up by a guy that I doubt had a clue of what sleep paralysis is. He is recalling alien hallucinations he had as a BABY. Memories don't usually form until you have an understanding of your native language. Clearly he had no idea as a baby. Not to mention he clearly remembers what those aliens said to him. I'm not saying aliens don't speak English, but I highly doubt it, much less him remember it as a baby. It just seemed foolish and unbelievable. It kinda seemed like a mockery of this to me. Also, the other half of the movie was split between several people.. Why did he have such a huge time slot to himself with such a stupid recollection when there are several others who get probably 10-15 minutes of time a piece?
Now the other half of the movie was pretty believable with some good, reliable, believable stories (even if they weren't, I still gave them credit for them). And it was effective in giving me chills by reliving my experiences every time I saw a shadow man on screen.
So it should be a 5/10 right? No. I knocked off another point for the lack of a psychiatrist or a doctor specialized in the field of sleep disorders to discuss a scientific explanation on what exactly goes on during this state. This documentary seemed to have no credibility and it didn't help that it had a guy who remembered "tv fuzz aliens" as a baby, whom as I said, took up a majority of the screen time.
In closing, let down is an understatement. This could've been my favorite documentary of all time, if not at least in a long time, and Rodney Ascher lets us down again like he did with Room 237. I guess I should've expected it, but he just solidified his place as a mediocre, pretentious, director. He made something scary and creepy as an experience that help give rise the horrifying Freddy Kruger into a dull, uninteresting, unbelievable documentary that had the potential, and yet, should've been so much more.