There's a lot that I love about fall, but the thing I really, really hate is the fact that it's no longer safe to watch TV at night. Commercial breaks during episodes of Scandal are populated by trailers for horror movies scary enough to give you nightmares in under two minutes, and it's the worst, even if these said horror movies look absolutely fantastic. One of these movies is Before I Go To Sleep. After seeing the trailer, I had to know: Is Before I Go To Sleep based on a true story?
Although this kind of amnesia is something that does happen in the real world, this particular woman's story isn't based on actual events. Instead, Before I Go To Sleep is based on a novel by S.J. Watson of the same name, and according to the author himself, something kind of eerie happened after he published the book — Watson discovered a news story about someone who suffered from a memory problem similar to the ones highlighted in his book. This is more sad than anything else, really — how scary and horrifying must it be to wake up every morning and remember nothing about what happened the day before.
And yes, when you first hear the premise of the movie — a woman who wakes up every day remembering nothing because of an accident — it sounds a lot like 50 First Dates. Trust me, it's nowhere near as cute. In the case of this woman (played by Nicole Kidman), instead of being serenaded adorably by Adam Sandler, she knows that 10 years ago, something horrible happened to her that resulted in several blows to the head that destroyed her memory forever, but she doesn't know what.
Now, she's keeping a rather creepy video diary in an effort to solve the mystery, and her husband (Colin Firth) doesn't seem to be taking it too well, either. Obviously, a lot of other creepy stuff ensues.
The condition's called anterograde amnesia, and it's classified as a severely impaired memory after a traumatic brain injury. Sufferers usually have no problem remembering things that happened in the distant past, like events and people from their childhood, and struggle mostly with their short-term memory. And as far as forming new memories goes? Yeah, that's pretty much all out the window.
The scariest part of all? Currently, there's no cure for anterograde amnesia, only therapies that could help the memory improve over time. If there was ever anything that made me want to walk around wearing a helmet at all times, this would be it.
So while you're in the theater watching Before I Go To Sleep, remember that this is totally something that could happen to you — and if you need to go home and cleanse your palate with a little Frozen before you go to sleep, I totally won't blame you.
Image: Millenium Films