Jacob and his friends, age 14, are standing outside a supposedly haunted house daring each other to go in. Everyone in their hometown believes that this mansion, Archland House, is inhabited by the ghost of a man who wants to avenge the murder of his wife. Rather than be known as a “chickenshit,” Jacob is the only one to venture up to the attic; he is not afraid of ghosts, but is instead wisely afraid of possible structural damage because the house is old and abandoned. What he sees in the attic sends him screaming out of the house and out of his friends’ lives. In fact, when we the audience next see him 14 years later, he has a different name and does not remember anything about his life before college. He is tormented by nightmares and is seeing a psychiatrist, but his girlfriend Bailey wants him to see her friend Mary the psychic. Unluckily for Mary and for herself, Bailey sets out to investigate the mystery of her boyfriend’s past and sets off a series of weird events that take the rest of the film to explain themselves.
Ordinarily it is hard to watch any of the slew of cheapo unknown horror films one finds streaming that were released in the last 15 years. But there was something about Nightmare in the Attic that kept me watching, and compelled me to stick with it until I too had learned the secret of Jacob’s past. I only had one problem with the story, that of what I thought was an unnecessary and somewhat unexplained side plot about a serial killer, and a couple of things I did not understand about the delightfully convoluted explanation at the end. But for such a modest production, it totally works! There is a truly creepy atmosphere that pervades the entire film.
Nightmare in the Attic is not just an ordinary cheapo, but a micro budget film, as according to the filmmaker’s website it cost only $3000 to make! Yet the acting, story, lighting, and sets seem like that of a regular “low budget” film shot for tens or hundreds of thousands. It helps that it was made in Canada, where film production is less expensive, and that it was made by film students. But it still seems unfair that the film is so obscure I couldn’t even find it on IMDb. The website where I got my information states that the director, Scott Staven, still thinks the premise of Nightmare in the Attic could be tweaked and made into a theatrical movie, but I say he could have released it as is on streaming sites for pay. And yet he is letting it be seen for free! Not only could he remake Nightmare in the Attic, but the ending seemed to me to be ripe for a sequel. The only problem with that is that the film seems to have been made over 10 years ago, and I’m sure the stars and director have moved on. Has anyone else on WordPress even seen this movie? I think it’s perfect lazy afternoon viewing for those who feel they’ve seen all the streaming horror on the usual sites. Don’t be a chickenshit; check out what’s in the attic!