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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Nightmare" is a remake of an episode from the original Outer Limits, first telecast in 1963. It differs in only a few aspects. A team of six people (all male in the original, four male and two female in the remake) are held captive after their spaceship crashes. They are interrogated by a mysterious being (an Ebonite in the original, a disembodied Voice in the remake), the purpose being to extract information (from each member, if necessary) vital to the space mission. The methods include torture, both physical and psychological. A fascinating characteristic of both versions is the range of humans emotions laid bare. Almost each crew member expresses jealousy, anger, and frustration as he or she accuses each other of being a traitor. Another element in the mix is that almost everyone has had some demon in the past to feel guilty and defensive about. The sense of drama is real, and almost unbearable. Who is "broken"? Who is honest, and who has been manipulated by the interrogator? Each version has its flaws and its advantages. I prefer the minimalistic style of the original--the sparse settings, the b&w filming, the message that rings loud and clear throughout (the ending is hinted at several times). Both episodes have distressing images, but the remake is more lurid. It also is a little more chatty. Steven Bauer's character (the "tough guy") gets wearisome after awhile, and you pretty much guess how he'll react when it's his turn. There is also too much flash, with sound that is too loud (an alarm went off, and I could swear it was outside my apartment instead of on the screen). People who saw the original will be interested to know, however, that the ending has a twist. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it, and you will have to judge for yourselves whether it detracts or adds to the story. Interestingly both versions were given almost the exact rating by IMDb voters. A nice touch in the remake is that it is dedicated to the memory of Leslie Stevens, executive director of the original OL and a consultant on the newer series, until his death a few months before this episode aired.
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