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Never Wake Up.
The film’s tagline speaks mucho truth when it comes to the experience that is viewing the mind boggling
NIGHTMARE. As the end credits rolled, the nightmare wasn’t over as my brain continued to process what I had just witnessed, trying to make heads or heads
or tails of a tail of it all.
This bleak celluloid dream was of the “mind f*ck” subgenre and proud of it. So much so that it referenced Master brain cell killer David Lynch, Brian Depalma’s own grey matter tweaker RAISING CAIN and more throughout, firmly putting out there that the folks behind this film are huge cinema junkies. Always good news to me! I got to hand this to this trip; it had me firmly by the throat and didn’t let me go for its first hour. The initial “LOST HIGHWAY-ish” premise was mucho compelling, the BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS like device (in terms of the video tape/murder angle) creepy and as the clock moved forward, the gory/disturbing imagery, the un-bashful displays of sensual/animal nudity & sexuality and the many surfacing questions made for a captivating sit down. With never a boring moment in sight Nightmare kept me where I should be, in the main character’s shoes trying to figure out what the f*ck was going on.
The film’s smooth shift within its own storyline appealed to me as well. What started out as a straight “what’s happening here dammit” opus, became a semi study on the competitive nature and the creative procedure that is filmmaking. The middle block of the flick reminded me of the classic LIVING IN OBLIVION but on more acid than the prior was already on. Nothing like seeing a topic that you’re passionate about being dissected for ya intelligently with boobies and blood slapped into the mix for good measure. I dug it the most! Add to that astounding performances via newcomers Jason Scott Campbell and Nicole Roderick who showcased brave, bold and emotionally resonant shows and a kooky/groovy score that gave the flick an extra ounce of 70’s like “weird” and you get an indie keeper! To be honest, this one had me so spooked that when my viewing was interrupted by some "ring my doorbell and run away" loser, I was actually on edge and mucho creeped out in my own house! Do with that what you will.
On the bah side of this nightmare, the film’s conclusion never lived up to the set up or middle block. I mean relationships, potential conflicts and a whodunit were strongly established but never followed through. The flick put out so many false endings at some point that I REALLY didn’t know what the hell was going on anymore. And you know what? whether it was the case or not, it didn't feel like the film had a clue anymore either. Taking into account the promising “we’re going to reward ya real good” first two acts, the last block of this :SD jamboree (although still entertaining) let me down. In short; too many questions, not enough answers, not the pay-off I was looking for.
With that jived at ya, there’s no denying the skills (behind and before the camera), braveness and ambition at play here. How refreshing when it comes to an indie/low budget genre ditty. You looking for an easy “park the brain in the garage” type of offering, move on, you craving to be challenged, you’re at the right outhouse. Welcome to this Nightmare!