Friday, October 19, 2018

Chills & Thrills: Before I Wake (2016)

Movie Name/Year: Before I Wake (2016)
Tagline: Fear your dreams.
Genre: Drama, Horror, Fantasy
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Intrepid Pictures, Demarest Films, MICA Entertainment
Producer: Mali Elfman, Sam Englebardt, Brian Flanagan, David S. Greathouse, Lew Horwitz, Michael Ilitch Jr., Dale Armin Johnson, William D. Johnson, D. Scott Lumpkin, Trevor Macy, Julie B. May, Glenn Murray, Melinda Nishioka, Matthew Berkowitz, Marianne Culbert
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Actors: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish, Topher Bousquet, Dash Mihok, Jay Karnes, Lance E. Nichols, Antonio Evan Romero, Kyla Deaver, Hunter Wenzel, Michael Polish, Natalie Roers, Courtney Bell, Justin Gordon, Rigby Flanagan-Bell, Kelsey Phillips, Thad Watkins, Heather Rogers, Ben Jacobs

Blurb from Netflix: Still mourning the death of their son, Mark and Jessie welcome foster child Cody into their lives. Soon they discover he has a strange ability.

Selina’s Point of View:
I found Before I Wake to be predictable and very slow. In fact, it was a horror movie that didn’t remember to horror until about an hour in.

Granted, there was some significant need to develop the characters for this story to hit the emotional notes it needed to. I just feel that they went about it wrong. The small attempts they made to weave thrill in with the character building felt forced and ineffective. Some of their background story for certain characters didn’t feel quite right, either.

The death of the couple’s original son, for instance, is shown through memories. The death of a child in any film can be absolutely heartbreaking, but in Before I Wake it feels so overdone that it has almost no effect. I have no doubt that the director opted to have the death exaggerated due to the way the parents remember it, but that choice took away all the realism for me. I just kind of wound up looking at my screen weird.

I’m upset that it’s specifically the directing I had an issue with. I’m actually a huge fan of Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Gerald’s Game, Oculus). Hush (2016) is one of my all-time favorite horror/thrillers. I’m not dissuaded. I’m still looking forward to watching his future, and current, projects.

Out of all 96 minutes of footage, I really enjoyed about 20 minutes of it.

There was one truly amazing aspect to this film: Jacob Tremblay (Wonder, Room, The Predator). I believed his haunted performance. He may be young, but he showed a lot of emotional understanding in his performance. If he continues on in the business, I believe he can become a household name.

Cat’s Point of View:
I think most of us can relate to the feeling of dreams manifesting to reality – that’s effectively where de-ja-vu comes from, is it not? I know that’s the source of mine.

When I was little, it was a frequent thing for me to have a dream which had an echo in reality at some point later. You can bet I’m glad that the reverse wasn’t true for me. The nightmares, thankfully, remained in the realm of dreams. 

I’ll never forget the gobsmacked feeling I had the first time I watched dream events unfold before me while awake. Of course, as I got older; such dreams have been fewer and further between.

But, I digress.

I think Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Gerald's Game) brought some really disturbing ideas to the table with this movie. I’m really not surprised that I liked it, given that I have also thoroughly enjoyed other projects of his such as Hush (2016) and Oculus (2013).

There were a few bits here and there that knocked me out of the movie’s spell a little bit, but it was generally a creepily solid offering. This is definitely one to add in the category of my own nightmare fuel.

The plot was a bit deeper than I expected, though I didn’t quite feel right about the way things play out in the end. The movie leaves the door open for viewer interpretation to some degree.

All in all, this was a solid spine-tingling addition to our spooky view-fest for the month of October. 

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 61%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 45%
Metascore - 68/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.0/10
IMDB Score – 6.2/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment