‘The Nightmare’ Trailer: The Director of ‘Room 237’ Gets Into Your Head
The Nightmare is the latest film from Room 237 director Rodney Ascher, combining a mix of documentary interviews with eerie reenactments to explore the concept of sleep paralysis — a fairly common, if unsettling problem that plenty of people have faced. We have the first trailer for the upcoming horror documentary, which gathered a bit of attention when it played both Sundance and SXSW this year.
Like Room 237, The Nightmare is more interested in picking up on the sort of weird ideas easily dismissed as over-analyzing or reaching. Via a series of interviews with a handful of people, Ascher examines sleep paralysis, that half-asleep/half-awake state in which you are aware but unable to move. It’s probably happened to you at some point in your life: you’re sleeping, likely having a nightmare, when you suddenly become aware, though your body is still basically asleep. Unable to move, you can’t escape your thoughts.
Ascher’s doc isn’t so much informative as it is a tone piece, an collective insinuation strung together by reenactments — a few of which are the real highlights of the film. There’s a connective thread that unites the storytellers and their stories, as briefly mentioned in the below synopsis:
THE NIGHTMARE’S subjects hail from different backgrounds and walks of life, but share eerily similar visions of malevolent, near-human beings that grow increasingly aggressive the longer the sleep paralysis recurs. Are these just random hallucinations or something more? Rational explanations get challenged by the similarities of the “shadow people” multiple subjects describe looming over them. Ascher, who has first hand knowledge of sleep paralysis, brings the full intensity of this experience to the screen while maintaining empathy and respect for his subjects. As the film unfolds, distinctions between the documentary and horror genres fade as do easy lines between reality and the imagination.
The Nightmare hits VOD and select theaters on June 5.