In “Der Nachtmahr” You never know what’s real and what’s not real, and it’s not ok.
Everyone loves a little mystery in their movies, regardless of the genre. It’s what keeps the action alive and the audience at the edge of their seat. When the entire plot becomes a mystery as to what’s real and what’s not real in a rather un-amusing way, you get the opposite effect. What could’ve been an interesting tale with an allegorical telling instead became this overachieving teen movie that’s half of a EDM concert.
The film follows Carolyn Genzkow, who plays Tina, as she encounters something strange at a party one night. She seems the glimpse of a monstrous yet small grey creature. From that moment on, she has to deal with seeing it around her house as well as family and friends who don’t believe her. The disbelief here makes you wonder what’s real and what’s not real throughout the entire film.
The director, who goes by the name Akiz, bites off more than he can chew with this. He’s a talented artist who does bring these visually stunning and smart transitions and portrayals throughout each scene of the film. Other than that, the film is half focused on creating a mystery and half focused on establishing this allegorical symbolism with the grey creature. A house divided cannot stand, and this film is shaky at best. The message and motive of this film gets clouded. Without the focus on the deep set mystery of what’s real and imagined, an interesting coming of age story could’ve been told, of a girl with her own gremlins that everyone seeks to destroy but she finds makes her unique. Extrapolating that from the way the film is now seems a little bit of a reach, unintentional, and not well directed enough to get this interesting message clearly out.
The characters were rather flat, especially considering we only got to know one, Tina. Genzkow gave a good performance as she goes on this pseudo bout with insanity while dealing with teenage girl problems. However, the other characters, including her parents, her two best friends, and her on and off boyfriend are just around. They are only around for a bit and they never get a chance to develop their characters into anything out of the stereotypical teenager trope.
With all this said, the film isn’t that bad, it could just be so much more. The film is very geared towards teenagers, with it’s blaring EDM music, it’s DJ cameos, and the young characters. The story was well written but the directing fell short. At least we can hope with all these popular angles, in today’s Hollywood, it might get remade with an American twist. Nonetheless, there is still an interesting story in there. If you’re looking for a foreign teen mystery movie, or an interesting foreign movie, this one is for you.
The film screened the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.