A Nightmare Come True (1997)
A Simple Nightmare
When a fire breaks out in the apartment block where she lives nurse Sarah Zarn (Katy Boyer) returns home to live with her parents and younger brother Steven (Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker). It doesn't take her long to realise that things are not good between her parents Don (Gerald McRaney - A Hobo's Christmas) and Lily (Shelley Fabares) as you can cut the atmosphere with a knife. But then all of a sudden Lily disappears and Sarah fears that she may have been kidnapped or even worse murdered. With the police not concerned enough to do anything Sarah starts investigating herself especially as she has started to have nightmares about her mother being murdered. Even when her father starts receiving calls and letters from Lily saying she has gone to New York Sarah suspects all is not as it seems.
Do you know sometimes simple and obvious are two of the best weapons in a movie maker's arsenal. For example at the start of "A Nightmare Come True" we are presented with a scene of Detective Ron Shaye questioning someone, we don't know who, we don't even know whether they are a man or woman. It is a simple thing not to show us who is being questioned but it is also effective as it immediately grabs are interest.
And by following the simple and obvious formula director Christopher Leitch manages to lead us through this drama in such a way that it leads us to jump to conclusions. When Sarah moves back home and we become aware by the obvious friction in the Zarn household it makes us immediately jump to the conclusion that maybe her father is behind her mother's disappearance. But because there are more obvious clues and various twists it constantly leads us to jump to conclusions and doubt what we thought in the first place. It is purely down to this simple use of allowing the audience to jump to conclusions that "A Nightmare Come True" ends up watchable.
As for the actual storyline itself, well some say this is based on a true story although I can't find information anywhere on what the real true story is. It certainly feels like a true story movie but one which has had some artistic manipulation to make it work as a movie as in the dreams which Sarah suffers from being extremely vivid. It makes it seem a little far fetched as do some of the twists which take you by surprise.
Now if I was being shallow I could say that "A Nightmare Come True" is easy to watch because Katy Boyer is easy on the eye but she also gives a good performance. It feels at times like she has been directed to act sexier than required but the sense of intrigue which she fills Sarah with works. Plus any movie which sees Gerald McRaney playing it as cold and demanding is always worth watching. And then there is Jeremy Renner who in fairness doesn't have a lot to do for most of the movie but plays the little brother part reasonably well in a similar style to a young Brendan Fraser when he appeared in TV movies.
What this all boils down to is that "A Nightmare Come True" is nothing special but works to keep you interested by keeping things simple and obvious and in doing so allowing the audience to jump to conclusions.
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