Before I Wake (2016) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Before I Wake Review

Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Stars: Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay

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

Running Time: 97 Minutes

IMDB Score: 6.2

Why I Watched It: The trailers looked decent and I’m a huge Thomas Jane fan.

Random Thoughts: This was directed by Mike Flanagan who has built up a lot of good will and love from genre fans, he directed Oculus, Gerald’s Game and Hush, of those I think Hush is very good but what he’s done is embrace the horror genre and not try to go legit if you will, he’s one of those rare young directors who is having fun playing with the genre.

Like I said I’m a huge Thomas Jane fan, he’s an underrated actor and a very good genre actor, would love to see him finally breakout but he’s doing well but he deserves more.

What I like: This is a strange film at times cause it’s a borderline horror film, it’s more fantasy granted dark fantasy.  Now usually I don’t care too much for backstory and let’s be honest a couple dealing with a loss of a kid has been over used and sadly it’s often used as a plot point in horror but here the scenes with Kate Bosworth at her support group are good and you get a feel for her character and I think that’s a huge point cause often they use a tragedy as a character trait it’s not, we learn about Bosworth’s character and also that her husband Thomas Jane has stopped going to the group even though Bosworth would like him to. They even say everyone deals with death differently.  So as a director Flanagan does take the time o set up the characters.

Jane is very good here but he really doesn’t have much to do, Bosworth is the lead and in many ways it’s her story, Jacob Tremblay is also very good, he’s a very smart actor. Now I won’t go into to much of the plot but it turns into more of a fantasy than horror and also a mystery, some of that worked for me there’s a big twist in the film and then it’s almost all Bosworth trying to figure out about Tremblay’s dreams and what is the cause.

It’s a smart film and again a rare horror film that does take character beats and keeps the jump scares to a minimum.

What I Didn’t Like: The film is a little frustrating cause it’s well acted and directed but it doesn’t really work, the horror stuff doesn’t fit and the fact they never address how Tremblay’s dreams come to life, you would think that would be important but they call it a gift, alright well his gift kills people I might be splitting hairs here but that’s a problem.

The big thing for me is there’s death about mid way through and after that the film goes into the mystery direction and it fully work for me, the ending is too pat and what kind of bugged me was the tone was never right, either it’s a gift and people don’t die and he learns to control it or it’s evil and they have to get it our of him some how they play it down the middle and the film never really comes together. There’s an idea here, we’ve seen dreams and stuff like this explored before and I do think having a child makes it a bit different but the story doesn’t have a satisfying  third act. Also when the death happens they begin to rely on cliches and the smart writing went out the window.

Final Thoughts: Not a bad film and if you liked Mike Flanagan’s other films then by all means give it a watch.  It’s well done just didn’t click for me.

Rating: 5/10

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