I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a deep sleeper. I can fall asleep the second I hit my pillow and sleep through earthquakes, but on the flip-side, waking up in the mornings is a constant battle with my snooze button. Despite the occasional nightmare of being chased or panicking because I forgot to study for an old college exam, I feel as though my dreams are fairly balanced.
Watching the movie “The Nightmare,” was something that was on my list for quite some time. I’ve always been fascinated by documentaries and any horror related stories that have been based on and inspired by true events. This was just the tip of the iceberg as to why I wanted to watch this movie. The next big draw stemmed from the fact that my husband has experienced very similar dark and creepy dreams that align with the sleep paralysis definition. Similarly to the accounts of those in the documentary, my husband has felt as though he was paralyzed, unable to scream or speak, and has been terrorized with fear by a dark mass that seemingly appears to be walking up to him.
Most of the documentary dealt with very similar stories as a base for these extreme cases of sleep paralysis. Some involved much more consistency in the amount of times in which they experienced these encounters.
I really enjoyed the way that director, Rodney Ascher, had gathered all of these people who have dealt with sleep paralysis by tracking them down in forums and via YouTube videos. Apparently, Ascher had been interested in the topic, because he had personal experience with instances of sleep paralysis and wanted to learn more about the phenomena.
Image source: IMDB.com
The people involved were from different geographic and demographic backgrounds and told different, yet very similar experiences. The documentary had actors portraying the real stories of the participants and depicted re-enactments of each. While I greatly appreciated the fantastical nature and cinematography of this film, I felt as though it fell short in the areas of any climax. The stories were great and some more fascinating than others, but overall, I didn’t think that it was particularly scary in the sense of jumps, scares, or much suspense. The real horror came from the fact in knowing that there are actually people out there who struggle with these nightmares known as sleep paralysis on a sometimes daily basis and they truly can’t distinguish reality from fantasy during these bouts of terror.
In trying to gather more knowledge about this phenomena, I’ve walked away with more questions than anything. Those in the areas of traditional science and medicine have a hard time distinguishing a true cause or solution for those who have to experience these sorts of nightmares at any given time. The definition of sleep paralysis is increasingly blurred, yet incredibly fascinating, which is definitely what was most appealing part of the film.
I hope that those who watch the film can either gain some sort of understanding and an ounce of peace in knowing that there are others who struggle with these instances of sleep paralysis. Some of the actual stories from the participants felt like they came straight out of the X-Files or an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. That’s truly where the horror lies, in knowing that this can happen to anyone and that you really never know then an instance of sleep paralysis can strike.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this film, as it was definitely fascinating and creepy. Leave a comment below or drop me a message!