CHARLIZE THERON’s new role is giving her nightmares!

The stunning Academy Award winner is produc­ing and starring in the film version of the best-selling thriller “Dark Places.”

In it, she plays Libby Day, a tor­mented soul who witnessed at age 7 the ruthless slaying of her mother and two sisters, in what appears to be a satanic cult ritual.

The storyline hits very close to home for the South African-born ac­tress, who was 15 when she witnessed the slaying of her abusive, booze-swilling dad – by her own mother.

Charlize’s mom grabbed a shotgun and blasted away at the man who had threat­ened their lives during a drunken rage. The shooting was ruled self-defense and Charlize’s mother, Gerda Maritz, faced no charges.

The actress has called her father’s death “the great tragedy of my life.”

And while the 38-year-old has tried to move on from the traumatic experience, she’s still haunted by the incident, says the source.

“Charlize finds the ‘Dark Places’ project troubling but somewhat cleans­ing, because it’s bringing up a lot of the gruesome memories that she’s long blocked out,” said a source.

“She’s having a hard time with it, but dealing with it. She says she’s mak­ing this film for every child who’s gone through and moved on from a terrible tragedy like the one she had to endure.”