07th Nov2015

‘Nightmare Code’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Stars: Andrew J. West, Mei Melançon, Googy Gress, Ivan Shaw, Nicholas Guest, Caitlyn Folley, Bret Roberts, Albert Thakur, Tonya Kay, Jamie Parker, Reginald Huc, Paul Yen, Wes Whitehead, Jamie VanDyke, Stephen Bralver | Written and Directed by Mark Netter

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Nightmare Code is a psychological sci-fi thriller about behaviour recognition technology and 24/7 surveillance. Brett Desmond, a genius programmer with a troubled past, is called in to finish a top-secret behaviour recognition program, ROPER, after the previous Lead Programmer went insane. But the deeper Brett delves into the code, the more his own behaviour begins changing… in increasingly terrifying ways. Suspense builds with surveillance, PC, and eyeglass cameras – often with four images onscreen at once… as if ROPER itself is telling the story.

Computers are going to take over the world and kill us all! I knew it! No one is safe! Turn off your devices, run for the hills and live in mud huts for the rest of your days! *Ahem*, right well, now I’ve got that out of my system, I’ll go back to reviewing Nightmare Code. It’s the latest horror film to suggest that our untimely demise by technological means is not so far away. And let me tell you, dear readers, it does a very successful job of suggesting just that.

Filmed in a very similar way to ‘found footage’ films, Nightmare Code‘s plot plays out in front of us from the point of view of security cameras and computer screens. Think found footage, but without the awful camera shaking. Sometimes, this does get a little confusing as the screen is split into four views, each showing the same character but at different times. They’ll be walking down a corridor on one screen and scratching their head on another. I did worry that I was looking at the wrong one at points and missing vital clues as to what was going on.

But as issues go, it is a small one. This film has perfected the slow reveal. Don’t take that as me saying that the film is slow, though. No, the story unfolds at a reasonable pace, with a nice spread of creepiness throughout. What I mean is that even in scenes where something sinister might not be happening, you are always thinking: What is going on? Why am I seeing this? This is mainly thanks to the strong acting throughout by all cast members. You’ll find yourself absolutely buying into the story (so much so that you’ll probably never look at your laptop in the same way again). By the time I reached the big reveal, it felt not only satisfying but also that there was still something to be discovered, that this story, all of which takes place in one office, has more to tell.

I don’t usual watch films more than once, but I would definitely watch Nightmare Code again, just to check if I have actually missed anything, and if this story does go any deeper. If wanting to go back isn’t the sign of a good film, I don’t know what is. Nightmare Code is an entertaining and intelligent film, and I highly recommend it.

**** 4/5

Nightmare Code is available now across the US, on DVD and VOD.

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