Trying to help a friend to complete his thesis in a very shot time, a group of film students go to a Victorian mansion to make a horror film. The house, known for the murder of three women accused of witchcraft a long time ago, at first seems like the perfect location for the film, however in the middle of production, a book known as The Necronomicon is found and accidentally used to invoke the witches from the dead, whom are looking to inflict their revenge on the living.
“Reel Nightmare” (Also known as “Reel Nightmare; Book Of Witchcraft”) brings some interesting points to the table and even has some winks to the H. P. Lovecraft lore (some more subtle than others), it also presents some debates about what the women accused of witchcraft might have been and some reflexion on their counterpart in present day, taking it even to some issues in the movie industry itself. While I thought that those conversations were interesting to a point, I felt it dragged the story a little bit and didn’t get to what I supposed was the actual plot, the return of the witches and their revenge.
The film confused me from the beginning with its format; At first it is presented as a video found by the police as evidence of what was later known as “the Goodwin Manor Murders”, and the material, despite having been later edited in a sequential order to find out what happened, was hidden from the public for years due not giving a clear explanation of what happened. This file is supposedly later leaked on the internet. The problem is that at several moments we see scenes that clearly where not filmed by any of the crew or by another device by itself, and we even have background music at key scenes to complete the mood. Therefore I ask , Are we really watching the “leaked footage” or a “regular” film? And if it is a “regular film” What was the point of try to sell it as a “Found Footage”?
>One of the highlights of the film is that it has close to none fake jump scares, and almost in every scene we can see what is going, avoiding the dreaded shaky “drunken cam syndrome” that has plagued most of the recent films in the last five years. There are very few special effects but they are well done, specially on the make-up department.
Unfortunately, I also have to mention some weak points of the film: The pacing is very irregular, and it feels heavy on some parts despite to have less than 79 minutes running time. The acting is a mixed bag too, while some performers can sell you their characters without any trouble, others can take you out from the film. Another problem that I had was the sound mix, in some scenes you can clearly understand the dialogue, and on others you can barely hear what the character are saying, specially in scenes on the living room where every character has lines coming back and fort.
“Reel Nightmare” was written and directed by Armand Petri, with the performances of Madeline Heil, Garret Morosky, Andres Mejia Vallejo, Armand Petri, Eric Saleh, Halley Chown and Mari-Liis Userdnov in the cast.
The film will be released on BluRay, Digital HD and VOD on February 7th, 2016.