BEFORE I WAKE (REVIEW)
Dir. Mike Flanagan
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
There are few names that attached to a film would make me see it without reading into it. James Wan, John Carpenter, Sam Raimi just to name a few but in recent years, Mike Flanagan has proven himself as a master of horror. A resume of films including OUIJA 2, HUSH and OCULUS have evidenced Flanagan’s balance of horror and storytelling that is so present with his latest feature, BEFORE I WAKE.
Several years after the death of their child, Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) adopt a young boy, Cody (Jacob Tremblay). Once settled, they quickly learn that young Cody has a gift, one that sees his dreams, and nightmares, turn into reality as he sleeps. Rather than send him to Xavier’s school for the gifted, the pair learn to live with the blessings until Coby’s past gets to him and the dreams become nightmares not just for him, but for all those around him.
As ever, Flanagan is on form and provides a cinematic experience for his story telling and that is the strength of BEFORE I WAKE. Behind the horror and scares it brings, there’s a layer of depth that provides a stark breathe of compassion to the genre. Like Guillermo Del Toro, this film hides a very human story underneath the supernatural and while it’s easy to sit back and enjoy the ride, the emotional draw that BEFORE I WAKE brings with it is unforgettable.
In its drive to be scary, the film does at times fail and doesn’t quite hold the tension as Flanagan’s other films. While the premise of the film is something uniquely different, it doesn’t get much evolution than to deliver the occasional dream sequence, nothing really comes from this ability to dream reality that hasn’t been seen before in other forms.
While it doesn’t quite live up to his other films, BEFORE I WAKE is far from a flop but instead of delivering another horror gem, we’re left with a heart warming story of a boy who comes to terms with a unique gift.