JOKO ANWAR’S NIGHTMARES AND DAYDREAMS on Netflix is a new genre anthology series. The 7 hour-long episodes are a gorgeous hybrid of horror, thriller, and sci-fi. Read our full Nightmares and Daydreams series review here!

JOKO ANWAR’S NIGHTMARES AND DAYDREAMS is a new Netflix series. It’s a horror, sci-fi, and thriller anthology series with seven separate stories. Not unlike Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities which came out on Netflix in 2022.

In this new anthology, we tend to see ordinary people end up in very strange situations. Often with a supernatural element of some kind. This first season has 7 hour-long episodes, and the stories do differ quite a lot. But in a good way!

Continue reading our Nightmares and Daydreams series review below. Find the series on Netflix from June 14, 2024.

A new anthology series from Joko Anwar

With Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams, an otherworldly universe awaits audiences worldwide on Netflix. As someone who adored his 2017 horror movie Satan’s Slaves, I have been a fan of Joko Anwar’s twisted mind ever since.

This new Netflix anthology series is the first of its kind in Indonesian, but its home on Netflix makes perfect sense. Over the past years, Netflix has been adding a lot of Indonesian titles, and horror productions tend to do well. Really well!

While Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams is a genre anthology in the supernatural sci-fi genre, it’s also very much based in horror. In that sense, it reminded me a lot of Black Mirror. However, not with tech at the forefront of the sci-fi.

Instead, it’s the supernatural that comes into play. As the title indicates, this can result in situations that are either the stuff of nightmares or daydreams. In other words, pure dread to avoid or wishful thinking to make you happy.

You may recognize some faces as key characters are portrayed by prominent Indonesian actors. The cast includes Ario Bayu (Impetigore), Fachry Albar (V/H/S/2), Kiki Narendra (Satan’s Slaves 2), and Marissa Anita (Folklore). To name just a select few!

Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams – Review | Netflix

The seven episodes of Nightmares and Daydreams

While each episode in Nightmares and Daydreams offers a unique story, there is a connection. After all, this is an anthology. Each story features a key character experiencing a peculiar incident of some kind from 1985 to 2024.

Even though they may appear separate and random, they are interconnected. Each one offers insights into the origins of our world – and, not least, the strange threats to humanity.

We’ll get into the two first with our verdict and then stick with stating the plot for the remaining five episodes of Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams season 1.

“Old House” is episode one (S1.E1)

The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams Episode 1:

A simple taxi driver comes to a mysterious nursing home for a conglomerate. Until he discovers the terrible secret hidden within.

In “Old House” which opens this new genre anthology, Joko Anwar himself is the writer and director. And it shows in some amazing ways. The story is brilliant and so are the actors. Unfortunately, the CGI is not. It does take a lot away from the final act.

Still, when I say the story of the Old House episode is great, I really mean that. In fact, I would love to see a feature film where practical effects are used instead. The runtime of just over one hour could easily be turned into a 90-minute feature with some back story.

“The Orphan” is episode two (S1.E2)

The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams Episode 2:

A poor married couple adopts an orphan who can make a fortune in just six days. But on the seventh day, great danger awaits.

This second episode does not use CGI – actually, it does but just a tad and very sparingly. Instead, it pulls on your heartstrings. Big time. And also, it touches on something many will be able to relate to. Money versus morale or just greed versus compassion.

I’m oversimplifying, but you’ll see for yourself.

“Poems and Pains” is episode three (S1.E3)

This story reminded me of the Creep Show season 4 episode “The Hat” with a touch of Dear Child mixed with the core story of Nightmare and Daydreams. The official plot of Nightmares and Daydreams episode 3:

While trying to finish her latest novel, a writer realizes that her life is a reflection of the main character of the story she is writing.

“The Encounter” is episode four (S1.E4)

This episode is a bit of a slow burn, but also very intriguing and a somewhat classic “alien encounter” story, but with a twist. The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams episode 4:

A group of fishermen who are facing eviction seek answers from a quiet man who managed to photograph a mysterious object at night.

“The Other Side” is episode five (S1.E5)

Movie fans (especially movie theater fans) will probably relate to this episode where a man wants to disappear into his easy days of working at a movie theater. A fascinating episode that drags on a bit too much. The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams episode 5:

A man’s decision to visit the abandoned cinema where he used to work has inevitable consequences.

“Hypnotized” is episode six (S1.E6)

The beginning of this episode was strong and even had the wildest split-second mini-jumpscare. Again, it does end up being too long, but it sets up the final episode. The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams episode 6 has a bit of a Black Mirror vibe:

Desperate to earn a living, an electronics technician learns to hypnotize other people. But he must face the consequences of his actions.

“PO Box” is episode seven (S1.E7)

In this episode, characters from the previous six episodes finally come together in the end. Also, Knoowble makes its final appearance as the search engine of Nightmares and Daydreams. 

And no, Knoowble isn’t a real search engine. At least not as of writing this, though someone did buy the domain the day after Joko Anwar’s Netflix series premiered. Knoowble has been a running joke/spoof on Google throughout so I can understand why.

The plot of Nightmares and Daydreams episode 7:

A professional diamond interpreter searches for her missing sister by following clues that lead her to a life-threatening situation.

With this seventh episode, season 1 of Nightmares and Daydreams comes to an end. However, there is no doubt that a second season will be made if this one is a hit. And it very well could be. Fingers crossed.

Will we get Nightmares and Daydreams season 2?

Nightmares and Daydreams season 2 is heavily teased in the final moments of this first season. In fact, season 1 feels like more of an original story – the kind Zack Snyder wished he was making with Rebel Moon.

Season 2 of Nightmares and Daydreams would be where it all truly begins. The all-important fight between humans and those who wish to harm us.

I would expect Nightmares and Daydreams season 2 has already been planned and written. We just need Netflix to greenlight it. And as much as these episodes were a mixed bag, I didn’t hate any of them. I just enjoyed some more than others.

The final moments of episode 7, where characters from the previous episodes come together to fight as a unit felt a bit rushed. I would hope the first episode of a second season would remedy that by focusing more on this united group of fighters.

Watch Nightmares and Daydreams on Netflix now!

The creator of Nightmares and Daydreams is, of course, Joko Anwar. I mean, his name is right there in the full title. Again, this was also the case with Guillermo del Toro and Cabinet of Curiosities.

There are several directors on the seven episodes. Joko Anwar wrote and directed the first episode, but from episode 2, other writers and directors are in charge. Joko Anwar is still the producer and overall creator.

Other directors on episodes in this first season of the anthology are Tommy Dewo, Ray Farandy Pakpahan, and Randolph Zaini. If you’re a fan of genre productions (and Joko Anwar, in particular), you’ll want to check this out.

Joko Anwar’s Nightmares and Daydreams premieres on Netflix on June 14, 2024.


Creator: Joko Anwar
Directors: Joko Anwar, Tommy Dewo, Ray Farandy Pakpahan, Randolph Zaini
Cast: Ario Bayu, Marissa Anita, Lukman Sardi, Nirina Zubir, Yoga Pratama, Kiki Narendra, Sita Nursanti, Fachry Albar, Asmara Abigail


In this suspenseful horror thriller series, ordinary people encounter supernatural phenomena.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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