Welcome to the last movie you ever want to think about before bedtime.

Welcome to the last movie you ever want to think about before bedtime.

It is debatable how well the horror-documentary "The Nightmare" works as a documentary, but it has the horror part down to skin-crawling effect. And the documentary angle makes it gnaw even deeper.

Scary is subjective, and fans of the modern incarnation of jump-scare horror probably won't be as creeped-out as I was. I'll say this. For the second time in about a year, I found myself alone in a theatrical press screening. Both times, by the end I was ready to bolt for the door without looking back. Those screenings were "The Nightmare" and "The Babadook." If you've seen the latter, you'll know what scares me. "The Nightmare" scared the crap out of me, both during and after viewing it.

Director Rodney Ascher ("Room 237") gathers a series of interviews with people afflicted with sleep paralysis, a phenomenon in which sufferers experience a temporary inability to move or speak while in the state of waking or falling asleep. This state is often accompanied by terrifying hallucinations.

So let's just say you wake up to, for example, a red-eyed shadow figure in your room. And you can't move or do anything about it, as it hovers closer to you.

If you saw "Room 237," Ascher's documentary on wild fan interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," you know his films have a disjointed, unnerving structure. As the stories of sleep paralysis pile up, they begin to blur - and the real creepiness sets in when patterns in what they see begin to emerge.

Ascher's recreations of these nightmarish images aren't high-budget, but he's taking a lot of inspiration from directors with unnerving style, like Kubrick, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, etc.

That disjointed style of the interviews blending together is a blessing and curse. It's fertile ground for paranoid thoughts, which is a great enhancement for fear already multiplied by the fact these are real stories from real people - albeit existing in their own minds/memories.

"The Nightmare" also focuses on overtones of the supernatural rather than psychological, which means it doesn't offer the most complete portrayal of sleep paralysis.

To me, that's OK. Its intent isn't to educate so much as to scare. I'm sure there will be a segment that finds the whole affair silly and unscary.

For the rest of you, good luck falling asleep.