The Dreamer is a short Norwegian horror film that premiered as an exclusive at HorrOrigins. With a runtime of 14 minutes and 44 seconds, the film follows a mother struggling to cope with her young daughter suffering from an unknown violent sleeping disorder. Written and directed by Kenneth Karlstad and filmed in Norway.
Prepare a very dark visual experience and with good cause at it sets the tone for the dark nature of the film, opening with a semi-static scene of bubble wrap and duct tape on the corners of counters which are evidently wrapped to protect the young girl from hitting her head on these ends during a violent convulsion.
The uneasy feeling is what I feel right away when starting this film. The feeling persists throughout the entirety of the short, from the mother lying in bed to Alex (the child) screaming out in apparent night terrors. You can sense that something is very wrong in this picture within the first minute of pressing play. Upon trying to wake Alex from a night terror, the mother shakes her while the child brands a kitchen knife, only to find out that she had been slashed in the stomach during the attempt to free Alex from the terror. All of this happens within the first two minutes of the film, showing that it’s not going to slow burn at all.
When Alex don’t seem to come back from the nightmarish visions she tells her mother that there is something here, followed by asking her mother if she is the only one that sees ‘it’. ‘
‘They are only dreams,’ but are they? The soundtrack is also very unsettling and reminds me of music and sound effects from ‘The Shining’. Fantastic sound effects help set the mood for this psychological terror ride.
At the midway point of the film, we are greeted by even more intense sounds and a visual of a foggy, eerie mountain scape which makes you wonder what it means and what the hell is going on. Those Kubrick sounds make the scenes more intense and keep your attention to not look away from the screen.
The following day comes and we are greeted by Alex standing, staring at her mother sleeping on the couch, but it gets worse. The mother’s wound from the previous night is vicious looking and really could use some stitches. I mean, seriously, this looks like a sword had split her. Adding even more to the scene is that the daughter pokes the cut, which shows what appears to be a moving entity or person inside the wound.
As the mother wakes from a flash scene from day to night, she appears to have started suffering from the same disorder where her reality is now twisted into the dream world where everything is very lucid and absolutely scary. Concluding with the daughter now comforting the mother with the exact phrase… ‘It’s just a dream.’
It’s not clear if all of this was just a dream or a real demonic type situation, being left up to you, the viewer, to decide what exactly happened in this house. Was it all a dream? Was any of it real? You can be the judge of that.
The bounds of reality are being torn apart in The Dreamer has a great soundtrack, as previously mentioned and you really can’t go wrong spending fifteen minutes watching this film. It was worth the time spent.
I give The Dreamer based on the indie horror scale 3.5 out of 5 stars, I can only imagine what this film could be if made into a full feature which would be a good thing.
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