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Reese wakes up from a nightmare where he's killed his girlfriend. Reese wakes up fro ma nightmare where he kills a homeless man. Reese wakes up from a nightmare where he kills everyone he knows. What happens if one of these times he wakes up, and finds out he was never asleep?
This film was directed by Brent Nowak (Lost Love, Harvest Moon) and written by Brad Ashten. Ashten, who you may have seen on "Veronica Mars", also stars in this short film. I've praised Nowak enough in other reviews so I won't do it here (other than to say he's kept up his pattern of quality). I will give a lot of credit to Ashten, though -- apart from the fine acting, he really found a way to make a very deep, layered story in a limited amount of time. The characters are ones we can identify with, and the depth of this film is amazing for coming in around 14 minutes.
What is best about the depth isn't just that it's well-crafted: it's that we are never sure which layer we are in. Is Reese awake, asleep, or in a dream inside a dream? If you peel an onion enough times, you find the core of the onion. But the more you peel back "Nightmare" the more sure you become there's never been a core at all. And that's good writing -- I see shades of Cronenberg and Lynch in this film.
You may ask why this film isn't coming in with a perfect score. My reasoning is this: something about the blood seemed wrong to me. Quality writing, acting and directing -- but the death scenes seemed a little too unrealistic. And that's a crucial element if you're aiming to make a horror or thriller type film. But, thankfully, they didn't resort to bad CGI blood like certain other independent film-makers I could name (Lincoln Kupchak, this means you).
Check this one out. Try to unravel the onion, and see what you find inside. I know what I found, and I have my suspicions of what the true layers are. But maybe you'll find something different than I did. Certainly a solid piece, and Ashten may have a career in writing to fall back on if the acting isn't enough. (Or, do both, I suppose.)
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