The Nightmare

For Room 237 (2012), documentary maker Rodney Ascher interviewed an assortment of Stanley Kubrick obsessives with theories about The Shining; this new effort collects the anecdotes of eight people who suffer from sleep paralysis and have visions of shadowy demons from whom they cannot escape. Their nightmares are duly dramatized by Ascher, whose canted angles and shadowy silhouettes create a consistent sense of unease, and a cinematic dimension emerges as some of the witnesses invoke A Nightmare on Elm Street as a pop-culture expression of what they experience in the night. But Ascher offers no clinical material about the condition, and the subjective testimony ultimately lapses into solipsism. This movie should have made me afraid to go to sleep, but in fact I couldn’t wait.