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The Nightmare Review

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An exploration of ‘sleep paralysis’, a condition in which sufferers are trapped between sleep and wakefulness, experiencing terrifying visual and aural hallucinations.

★★★★★

Ascher’s follow-up to the brilliantly bizarre Room 237 is an exploration of ‘sleep paralysis’, a condition in which sufferers are trapped between sleep and wakefulness, experiencing terrifying visual and aural hallucinations. Eight sufferers are interviewed on camera, while Ascher brings their experiences to life in a way that could conceivably induce nightmares in casual viewers — although the potency of these scenes is ultimately diminished by repetition. Equally problematic is Ascher’s determination to explore the phenomenon empirically rather than scientifically: at no point is a white-coated polysomnographist wheeled out to talk about the possible causes.

While Ascher brings the experiences to life in a way that could conceivably induce nightmares in casual viewers, the potency of these scenes is ultimately diminished by repetition.

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