Nightmare

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos

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Nightmare  (2005, dir: Dylan Bank; cast: J. Bloomrosen, Nicole Roderick, Jolan Boockvor, Jason Scott Campbell)

 

 

 

 

I received a free copy of this DVD when it was first released. I hated it then. But I watched it again, several years later, to give it another chance.

Yup, still dreadfully dull and pretentious.

In the "bonus" features, director Dylan Bank is just so cocky, and self-important, and full-of-himself. This lack of self-awareness reveals why he was able to make such a boring mess while imagining that he'd created horror greatness.

Bank tells us that he's been a "hardcore horror fan" since childhood, etc., and that people mistakenly assume that horror is low-brow, but that he believes that horror fans are the most "sophisticated" of film fans.

Which is his way of letting us know that Nightmare is "sophisticated" horror.

In reality, his film is a boring piece of non-horror crap. There is no cohesion to the events onscreen, nothing coalescing into a story, just random streams of consciousness. Is it all meant to be surreal, and hence the title, Nightmare?

In Bank's film, a film student awakes beside an actress, after a night of sex. They find a video camera pointed at their bed, containing a tape of them killing people. Yet they don't remember doing it, and there is no blood.

That's a decent premise for a suspense story, but Bank immediately drops it. Instead, his film student protagonist starts to make a student film about this recent incident. He continues shooting new scenes as he finds new tapes of him killing people. Soon he's no longer discovering tapes of himself killing people -- he's waking up to find himself actually killing people. Or not.

Things keeps happening. He kills his girlfriend. No, she's alive. He's in jail. No, he was never in jail. He was mutilated. No, he's not mutilated. Etc. Films within films. Nightmares within films within nightmares. What's real? What isn't? Who cares?

Nightmare meanders from tangent to tangent. Of course, the other film students complain of his making a film within a film, within a film, meandering from tangent to tangent. Yes, Nightmare is an extremely self-aware film, its characters incessantly commenting on the film within a film, and by proxy, on Bank's film about the film student making a film about a film student making a film...

 

 

Hey Bank, here's a tip -- Just because a film is self-aware does not mean that it's sophisticated.

Nightmare is neither "sophisticated" nor a "horror" film, as Bank smugly imagines. It's boring. There is nothing sophisticated about an incoherent stream of random events that might, or might not, all be a dream. (Of course, the protagonist's fellow film students tell him, "This better not all be a dream." -- Ha, ha, how self-aware and post-modern and "sophisticated" to have the film student characters commenting, by proxy, on Bank's film.)

A boring mess.

With Nightmare, Bank proves to be a "hardcore horror fan" who knows nothing about how to make an entertaining, much less artistic, horror film.

Look, I love horror art films. Some great ones include The Company of Wolves and Blood and Roses and Spirits of the Dead. But Nightmare ain't horror art. It's neither horror nor art.

Review copyright by Thomas M. Sipos

 

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