TIFF 2015: Der Nachtmahr

A heavy partying teenager is haunted by a repellent little creature in Der Nachtmahr. Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) is a seventeen year old girl in Berlin, who spends her nights going to raves with her friends. After one night of hard partying, Tina has found that a mysterious little creature has followed her home and that she has developed a symbiotic bond with it. However, since no one else sees the creature, it causes Tina’s parents and friends to doubt her sanity.

The debut feature film by German Multi-disciplinary artist Achim Bornhak, aka Akiz, Der Nachtmahr is an E.T.-like creature story that is set within the rave culture of Berlin. The film begins with a very tongue-in-cheek series of disclaimers, before going right into the very bass-heavy rave music and heavy strobe lighting. This is not at all a film that is recommended for people who suffer from epilepsy or are otherwise bothered by very loud music and flashing lights.

Aside from the very heavy rave scenes in the film, Der Nachtmahr ends up being a very cute creature feature. The central creature, made up of a combination of practical puppetry and CGI, begins as somewhat repulsive, but is actually quite lovable by the end of the film. There are many possible metaphors to why Tina has encountered this creature and can feel everything it does, which in turn makes Der Nachtmahr a very unique brand of coming-of-age story.

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