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Nightmare Code

Posted on December 12, 2015

Nightmare Code (2014): Coding Humans?

Dawn Keetley

90 min   |  2014   |   (USA)   |   Mark Netter

Grade: B+

Synopsis: A programmer with legal and financial problems, Brett Desmond (Andrew J. West), goes to work at OPTDEX, a company trying to develop sophisticated behavior recognition software (R.O.P.E.R). Brett is pinch-hitting, as it were, for another programmer, Foster Cotton (Googy Gress), who went “Columbine” (as someone puts it) and shot several of the company’s managers and then himself. As Brett gets drawn deeper into the “code,” he realizes that it may be about more than mere behavior recognition—and that the code may not be confined to the computer.

Nightmare Code is sci-fi horror directed and written by Mark Netter (M. J. Rotondi also co-wrote). It is a cerebral film that exploits the increasingly blurred line between the online/computer world and the “real” world, a murkiness that’s been the subject of other horror films of late (Unfriended and #Horror being two recent examples).

I highly recommend this film: it is expertly directed; the dialogue is believable and thought-provoking (without being heavy-handed); and actors Andrew J. West (Gareth from AMC’s The Walking Dead) and Mei Melançon (who plays Nora Huntsman) deliver stand-out performances. The film is worth watching, above all, for its concept and for the unique way in which it visually renders that concept. I would fault the film mainly on the grounds of its predictability and consequent lack of suspense: I had an idea pretty early on about where it might be going, and I wasn’t surprised.

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