Communion
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Sundance Film Review: ‘The Nightmare’

30 January 2015 12:02 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

If there are few things less interesting than hearing other people talk about their dreams, then director Rodney Ascher has pulled off something uniquely impressive, if still somewhat overstretched, in “The Nightmare,” an intriguing documentary-horror hybrid centered around the experiences of eight individuals who have suffered from the mysterious phenomenon of sleep paralysis. Mixing talking heads, surreal bedtime re-creations and shamelessly assaultive scare tactics, Ascher’s playful, visually inventive sophomore feature isn’t at the same level as “Room 237,” his brilliant 2012 inquiry into the mystique of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” But it shares with its predecessor a warped affection for eccentric storytellers and a desire to give vivid cinematic form to their darkest imaginings, if that is indeed what they are.

World premiered as a midnight entry at Sundance, “The Nightmare” won’t be any independent distributor’s idea of a commercial dream, but could amass a following »

- Justin Chang

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