Rapid Review: Before I Wake (2016)

before i wake poster

“I don’t like to sleep.”
– Cody

SYNOPSIS: A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps. – via IMDB

before i wake
GRADE 5You know, I quite like Mike Flanagan’s work. It isn’t all phenomenal, but it is usually entertaining, and tries to be a little more than your average film. I just wish that he had been allowed to maintain the original name of this (Somnia) as it fits with his other work. Moving on to the movie itself, I thought it was okay. I was interested, at any rate. The concept was cool, but the implementation was a little messy, if we are being honest. I was pleased to see Thomas Jane here, and I thought he was the only truly rational character in the whole movie, and he was really nice. His relationship with Cody was sweet and it was heartbreaking. An aspect that I didn’t like at all, however, was their son Shawn dying in the bathtub. This was never really explained, and for a child of that age it shouldn’t have happened. I understand the family’s flashbacks of how it happened could just be in their heads, and not how it happened, but still, some clarity would have been great. It should not have peeved me so much, but so much of the movie hinges on this having happened to their family. The performances were alright, but not brilliant for the most part, but they all came through and made this a decent watch. You can definitely tell Flanagan was given a bigger budget for effects here, and it doesn’t look bad. The movie has the feeling of a dark fantasy meets horror, and it balances the two effectively, but at the end of the day, the movie feels like it didn’t go all out to deliver. There was so much untapped potential here, and ultimately the movie just felt like a rather hollow experience all round. A right mixed bag – some stuff was good, other stuff was just not.

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9 thoughts on “Rapid Review: Before I Wake (2016)

  1. Tom says:

    Ah okay, I think this is the film I read about some time ago where Flanagan had some serious struggles with studio interference. That would explain the change of title and all that. I also would have liked it if he was able to keep the original title since it would have fit into all his themes of gearing thrillers/horrorrs to the human senses (Oculus – sight; Hush – sound; this, I guess is . . . sleep? lol) I might have to give this a look to see what’s up because I also like what he does with his stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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