Reviews: Nightmare Code

Winner of the 2015 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival, Sarah reviews last week's release of Nightmare Code. 

"Damn. We are reallly sexy."
Director Mark Netter must have some idea of what it’s like to reach that top cerebral epiphany where sci-fi meets reality and creates an all new sub-universe within this world that we live in. The more we often challenge the information systems we so heavily rely on, the more we are susceptible to being ultimately controlled by them. But putting too much faith and trust in ourselves to be the sole owners, creators and manipulators of a single computerized entity can not only prove to be dangerous to the mind but to the psyche as well.

In Netter’s indie sci-fi thriller Nightmare Code, a computer programmer (Brett Desmond, AMC’s Walking Dead) with a troubled past of his own is brought in to manage a code that specializes in psychological and intuitive implications. The laundry list begins there and doesn’t end until the film completely unravels and unfolds by acutely showcasing each internal terror nightmare. The film is resourcefully split into a constant montage of four screens at periodical times, which in subjective terms technically means you can see four angles of the exact same thing at one time. The theory suggests a panoramic view of one thing, and in turn makes Code not only diligently creepy but aesthetically brilliant.

Nightmare Code hits some visceral nerves head-on, such as the balloon concept of the programmer being the programmed and eventually, the hunter turning into the hunted. Despite it being a “low budget” film, its editing tactics of a “big brother”-style method leads the viewer down one central path with multiple divergent plot opportunities. The special effects are minimalistic to a degree, where there is just enough fare to effectively shock the viewer but doesn’t necessarily deviate from its own direction.

"I AM the Lawnmower Man and
I'm on tour through 2016!"
Overall, Code turns out to be a well-rounded and extremely fascinating thriller that has its unique and well-thought through provisions. The latter theory of the film begs to prove that technology can only be controlled and regulated for so long until a massive retaliation occurs. The direct opposite firmly suggests that with as much internal warfare as we as humans can possibly be experiencing, the program destined to follow our command can fundamentally be our own demise. It sparks a basic jumping ground for wild imaginations to create a multitude of possible outcomes, but with the consistency of simple plot gestures to keep the viewer’s attention peaked for the entire duration.


-Sarah Shafer

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