TIFF Report: Der Nachtmahr

Who’s in it: Carolyn Genzkow and (surprise!) former Sonic Youth bass babe Kim Gordon, who also lends her vocals to the film’s closing credits track

Who’s behind it: German multi-disciplinary artist Achim Bornhak, who also goes by Akiz (two IMDb profiles!!)

Who’ll love it: Audiences who like their coming-of-age movies loud, freaky, and seizure-inducing (the film’s title card literally warns viewers of potential seizures due to “extreme strobing” and “binaural frequencies,” but nevertheless suggests playing it very loud).

What it’s about: Following a night of riotous pool partying and a grisly glimpse of a cell phone video showing a girl getting struck by a car, 17-year-old Tina (Carolyn Genzkow) is—or perhaps isn’t—haunted and then befriended by an icky, fetus-like creature resembling the aborted love child of E.T. and the deformed Siamese twin from Basket Case—but is mainly based on Johann Heinrich Füssli’s famous painting.

Why you should see it: Despite its surreal premise, audacious style, and the fact that you’ll probably never fully get it, Der Nachtmahr is essentially a cautionary tale about mental illness and imminent adulthood. On the front, Genzkow is very compelling as a hard-partying teen whose world inexplicably begins to unravel. And while the film’s coda featuring Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon feels somewhat out of place, we’ll take it, because Kim Gordon kicks ass. Fans of David Lynch and Roman Polanski should get a kick out of the oblique, nerve-racking tension, while others may want to broaden their horizons with something allusive, challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

When you can see it: Der Nachtmahr screens Friday at noon and Sunday at 6pm at Scotiabank Theatre. Tickets available here.

Have a look at the trailer (it’s a doozy) and check out the poster below: