Nightmare is a new film from Norwegian writer-director Kjersti Helen Raasmussen that tells the story of Mona and Robby, a couple who move into a dilapidated apartment. Mona soon begins experiencing vivid and terrifying dreams, leading her to learn about the concept of sleep paralysis. As her nightmares intensify, she discovers she is pregnant but decides to have an abortion, sparking complications with the dream demon tormenting her. Mona seeks help from a sleep specialist, Aksel, who offers experimental technology to help her escape the clutches of her nightmares. Despite its promising premise and strong female lead performance, Nightmare falls short in its execution, spending too much time in the dream world and lacking exploration of the intriguing conspiracy angle presented by Mona’s neighbors and the sinister nature of her apartment building.
The film opens with Mona and Robby moving into a spacious yet decaying apartment, previously inhabited by a deceased pregnant woman. Mona begins having horrific dreams that she is afraid to share with Robby, who is consumed by his work. In addition to her night terrors, Mona is grappling with her career and relationship status, feeling emotionally adrift. The intensity of her dreams escalates when she discovers she is pregnant but decides to have an abortion. Mona seeks help from a sleep specialist who not only understands her experiences but also has experimental technology that may help her overcome her nightmares. However, the film fails to fully explore the enticing conspiracy aspect, leaving many questions unanswered and lacking depth. Furthermore, the story often drags, and the confined setting of the apartment building does not promote excitement. While Nightmare has potential for an engaging and disturbing tale from a woman’s perspective, it ultimately falls short in delivering a satisfying execution of its intriguing ideas.