IFC Films’ NIGHTMARE hits DVD
IFC Films’ NIGHTMARE, directed by Dylan Blank and starring Jason Scott Campbell and Nicole Roderick, hit DVD on September 29, 2009. If you haven’t seen the film and like good cerebral horror, check it out!
Review originally published on February 24, 2009.
NIGHTMARE melds the real with the surreal in this bizarre mystery about a student filmmaker (Jason Scott Campbell) who has a one-night stand with an actress named Natalya (Nicole Roderick), but when they wake the following morning they find a camcorder setup at the foot of the bed that wasn’t there the night before. They decide to watch the tape, but their curiosity quickly turns to fear and confusion as they discover themselves brutally murdering people in that very same bedroom. In an attempt to understand what’s happening and also benefit from his recent experiences, the filmmaker turns his living nightmare into his next film while the nightmare continues to haunt him.
The dialogue and the acting isn’t always perfect, but the less successful moments generally take place during the most “realistic” periods in the filmmaker’s journey. As a result, it actually mocks what we perceive as reality giving his darker moments a heavier impact. There’s an interesting essence of SCREAM in the scenes when the filmmaking students meet and Campbell seems to channel Patrick Bateman from AMERICAN PSYCHO in a way that intensifies as the film progresses.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen a successful thriller as intelligent and extremely non-linear as NIGHTMARE and I have to say it’s refreshing. For me, there’s only so many straight-forward linear three-act traditional movies I can watch in a row before I feel the need to throw a cinematic monkey wrench into the machine and watch it tear itself apart.
While NIGHTMARE does suffer some very minor setbacks from it’s low-budget, these flaws are are overcome in strides by a vivid visual style and true understanding of how to use sound and music to truly sell the mood of the story. Campbell delivers a frightening and insane performance while Roderick’s performance compliments his with a cool sincerity that is the yin to his yang. The absolute most annoying and awful performance comes from the filmmaking teacher, but I wonder if this isn’t intentional. In a way, commenting on his view of studying filmmaking in the college setting.
NIGHTMARE (aka NEVER WAKE UP) is an extraordinary blend of docudrama and Hitchcockian suspense with the distinctly strange appeal of a David Lynch film. Throw in an obsession with sex and violently erotic undertones stripped from a Cronenberg movie and you’ve got a seriously twisted but compelling journey into the darkest corners of this filmmaker’s mind. NIGHTMARE jumps from one reality to the next, chronicling the gradual decay of the filmmaker’s mind as he becomes lost in the unexplainable. NIGHTMARE is a psychological horror film that requires the active attention of the audience, meaning it won’t appeal to everyone. However, given the chance and the opportunity it deserves, Dylan Bank’s movie will surely open doors for him to create bigger and better films.