‘The Awakening’ Movie Review
With so many horror films trying to make audiences jump in their seats, it’s hard to pick out which are the ones worthy of our hard-earned dollars. If you have a chance to see the new BBC film, The Awakening, I would encourage you to take it.
Set in the 1920’s, the movie revolves around Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), a well-known skeptic who wrote the definitive work on debunking ghosts. When she is invited to investigate the death of a boy at a reportedly-haunted boarding school, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the aging manor house, as well as it to its matron, Maud (Imelda Staunton) and a teacher, Robert (Dominic West), who may be haunted by the past even more than Florence herself.
Using the latest in early 20th century technology, Florence sets out to disprove the school’s ghost story and perhaps even catch a killer, but it isn’t long before she finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about the supernatural.
This is the sort of film you watch when you want to be thoroughly creeped-out. Whether it was the bleak setting of the English countryside, the wonderful performances, the fantastic camera angles or the careful sprinkling of CGI (just enough, never too much), the effects are clearly felt. Speaking personally, there were several moments when I literally gasped out loud in the theatre. If I hadn’t felt it might do damage to my reputation as a seen-it-all critic, I might have been tempted to cover my eyes.
There was, however, one character in the film who felt absolutely unnecessary, as if he’d only been added in as a way to make things even creepier. The disgruntled caretaker had no real purpose and the climax of his plot line seemed superfluous and even out of sync with the rest of the well-paced story.
Without giving anything away, the movie relies on a twist and it’s a great one, at that. This is not a film that will shock audiences with gore, but will make one leave the theatre wanting to see it again, just to pinpoint the moments when the secret could have been obvious, but thanks to a great script and even great actors, was kept until the last minute.
The Awakening opens in limited release on August 17th.