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Paralys – by John Boisen & Björn Fävremark

The experience of a sleep paralysis (that you shouldn't watch alone...)

2016 | 5 - 10 | Dreams | Horror | Live-Action | Sweden

John Boisen and Björn Fävremark are specialists in the materialisation of nightmares and private demons. They move through the melding of horror and thriller and the realism of odd documentaries. Following The Effect Will Last Forever (2015) and Let Me Run (2016), the two have directed Paralys (before helming the music doc You Are Teddybears about the eccentric Swedish band). Paralys is a really tense psychological short film about a scary but very common personal experience – the sleep paralysis.

During a sleepy Sunday afternoon, a woman (Sofia Westberg) dozes off in front of the TV in her apartment. There’s the usual game show on television. The next category is horror films. “Which Japanese horror film from 1998 has an American remake starring Naomi Watts?”. “Ringu, geek.” So the woman falls asleep. When she wakes up she finds herself in a kind of limbo between dream and reality. And in the periphery a dark figure, just like Samara, is moving towards her.

Part of The Swedish Film Institute’s “It’s Alive” and screened at Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Fantastisk Film Festival and Arctic Light Film Festival, Paralys is a pretty terrifying visualization of the sleep paralysis experience, incredibly close to the real one. Who’s tasted it, knows it. It’s a physical phenomenon (a “dysfunction” in REM sleep) encountered in several cultures (Boisen and Fävremark mention The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli), as “one of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams,” the Anglo-Swiss artist is often quoted as saying. The stunning sound design and the enveloping camera movements of Paralys realise that sense of absolute terror perfectly.

Alessandro Zoppo

Alessandro Zoppo

Editor-in-Chief @ Good Short Films

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