Monday, October 22, 2018

31 Days of Dread--Day 22

The Nightmare; 2015; directed by Rodney Ascher

Documentary director Rodney Ascher performs this wonderful cinematic trick where he can infuse even the most banal topic with a palpable sense of dread. 

His first film, the short-subject The S From Hell, explored the evil inherent in Screen Gems' mid-century animated logo. And for his second trick, the brilliant Room 237, he built a convincing maze of twisted logic from the theories surrounding Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining.

So imagine what he might do with subject matter that's legitimately frightening on its own?

In The Nightmare, Ascher uses a combination of first-person interviews, dramatic re-enactments, computer animation and existing footage to explore the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, or night terrors.

The result is a film that steadily develops a creeping sense of anxiety, and releases a series of jump scares that are even more effective due to the fact that you never see them coming. It makes for a terrifically good watch, as horror films go.

And then, once it's over, it pulls off a second, even more impressive feat: it follows you to your bedroom, and joins you beneath the sheets, and wraps its cold arm around your waist.

The Nightmare is available on Netflix and streaming rental.

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