“All of the darkness looks alive.” A Review Rodney Ascher’s “The Nightmare” Documentary.

November 28, 2015

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG


While the idea of watching a documentary about sleep paralysis doesn’t seem that thrilling, Rodney Ascher has the ability to capture each sufferers moment of horror and somehow bring it to life for the viewer in his newest film,“The Nightmare.”

Now, horror documentaries have a tendency to turn into mocumentaries, often spoofing classic horror films, however, this is not the case. “The Nightmare,” concentrates on 8 separate individuals, men and woman from all walks of life, all across the globe, who suffer from similar episodes of phenomenon known as sleep paralysis.

While most modern day horror films are pure movie magic, these are REAL subjects, these are their REAL lives, REAL encounters, REAL experiences.


Each interviewee shares multiple episodes throughout the film and while the victim is sharing their story, the film cuts back and forth to reenactments. These reenactments themselves are terrifying, and it is very clear form the first episode that Ascher does not want you to feel comfortable at any point during the film. This is felt immediately as a moving camera never really lets you grasp or understand the world that victims live in. This creates a perfect environment for any horror film, but it works particularly well here because each victim has a different episode and each one is just as important as the next.

While each episode is different, they all have one common enemy, the “entity” referred to throughout the film as, “The Shadowmen.” The Shadowmen help propel the story forward as the victims main nemesis and the entity himself becomes the thing we all love to fear in horror films.


The film goes as far to tie in and reference some cult classic such as, “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Insidious,” and other paranormal films.

Accompanied by beautiful horror movie lighting, dark shadows, and a soundtrack that eerily resembles the score used in Ascher’s previous documentary, “Room 237,” horror fans should not miss out on this one of a kind, real life documentary!

“The Nightmare” Premises

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