Rolfe Kanefsky, a filmmaker who I have always thought of as being at the higher end of the low budget movie scale, is back and his latest movie is one hell of a fun ride.
Ellen suffers from recurring nightmares about a demonic looking man clad in black, who wants her dead, whom she refers to as The Nightmare Man. Things get so bad that her loving husband William has her committed. On the way to the hospital the car runs out of gas and Ellen is left alone whilst William goes to a garage. Ellen is inevitably attacked by the titular stalker and escapes to an isolated log cabin where two young couples are having a weekend of drinking and debauchery. With only Ellen having seen The Nightmare Man, the 'twentysomethings' must decide if Ellen has imagined her ordeal or if someone really is outside waiting to kill them.
The film's premise may seem a tad routine; sexy young cast drinking and making out at a cabin in the woods attacked by mysterious man in black, but Rolfe Kanefsky and cast inject the proceedings with such enthusiasm, that the film ends up being scary and fun.
For starters there's the initial idea of who to trust. Is Ellen imagining the whole thing, is The Nightmare Man real or is something far more sinister at work? The film works really well to a point, even managing to recover from its initial twist, but the ensuing twist ending made the film's tone suffer slightly.
Tiffany Shepis, who I have always maintained is a great actress and a smart woman first and foremost, is an absolute revelation here as she starts out as the 'slutty' girl who drinks too much and drops her clothes on a whim, only to take centre stage as the lead by the mid way point and show a different side to not only her character but her persona, as she uses her head instead of her body, taking control of the situation, refusing to give up her gun, fighting back and running when the shit hits the fan.
The cast really do well with a story that perhaps on paper didn't look like much, and the crew have worked equally as hard, which is evident by the well orchestrated and somewhat original jump scares. One sequence in particular which sees Ellen checking the car trunk and doors are locked, despite the fact she knows someone is outside, could have been all too routine but the result is definitely a new way for your assailant to gain entry to your car as far as I'm concerned.
In the end it's another great movie from Kanefsky, who manages to make his film scary whilst including elements present in most of his movies; namely goofy humour and boobs.
Nightmare Man for the most part is a fun and frightening little flick that manages to cover some new ground, which in the B-movie arena is not an easy thing to achieve.