While there is a well-maintained sense of lurking discomfort, the gotcha scenes feel a little cheap.
Tom Huddleston, Time Out, 2015-10-05
It just isn't as informative as it could be. It's plenty scary, and on that level satisfying. It would be great to see Ascher make a full-on horror feature.
Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, 2015-06-11
In the faces of these men and women, ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s and spread out everywhere from Los Angeles to Manchester, you can see the genuine terror they suffered - and, in some cases, continue to suffer.
Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 2015-06-10
Ascher plunges us into the actual visions that sleep paralysis creates: the moving silhouette figures, the darkness, the static. The sense of terror is palpable.
Sheila O'Malley, RogerEbert.com, 2015-06-05
Less a straight doc than a psycho-cinematic inquiry into unknown territory, it's really something to see. Whether it's something to believe is another matter.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2015-06-04
Ascher's is the only reality film that has ever made me jump and howl in freaked-out horror - twice!
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015-06-04
It's one thing to be tormented. It's another thing to face the grim reality that you're tormenting yourself.
Mike D'Angelo, AV Club, 2015-06-04
It's all fascinating and eerie, but also a bit repetitive.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly, 2015-06-03
A film that reveals the probes-and-saucers narrative as an of-its-era re-skinning of an even more pervasive phenomenon, one all mental: sleep paralysis.
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice, 2015-06-02
Even when the effects are intentionally DIY, these sequences contain surprising jolts and are marvelously effective in portraying dream logic.
Alison Willmore, BuzzFeed News, 2015-02-12
The resulting set-pieces are as scary as anything in a fictional horror movie.
A.A. Dowd, AV Club, 2015-02-12
The Nightmare hovers in a place between dreamlike sensations and reality, which grounds its focus.
Eric Kohn, indieWIRE, 2015-02-12
Rodney Ascher's follow-up to 'Room 237' is a unique hybrid of documentary and horror-thriller.
Justin Chang, Variety, 2015-01-30
Ascher is too content to let repetition of experience take over his film. No sleep studiers or brain experts or anybody else, for that matter, are interviewed.
Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, 2015-06-04
While "Room 237" sought evidence for its most outlandish conceits, "The Nightmare" declines to delve. As the testimonies grow repetitive, the strategy suggests willful ignorance.
Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, 2015-06-04
This movie should have made me afraid to go to sleep, but in fact I couldn't wait.
J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader, 2015-06-04
Neither as frightening as a good horror flick nor as enlightening as a straight documentary.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, 2015-06-01