Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 24
  2. Negative: 3 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 29, 2012
    38
    The Awakening looks great but never develops a plot with enough clarity to engage us, and the solution to the mystery is I am afraid disappointingly standard.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    Most of the supernatural sightings are flickers at the corners of the screen, so that at certain moments watching the movie feels like taking an eye exam. You see it, then you don't. But the film is not especially scary, and even its boo! moments lack a visceral shock.
  3. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Aug 8, 2012
    67
    Not to be confused with a dramatization of Kate Chopin's great 1899 proto-feminist novel, this by-the-numbers British ghost story, set just after WWI, devotes a lot of energy to set decoration.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 23, 2012
    50
    The handsome production design notwithstanding, The Awakening is not an elegant thriller. It's more like solemn drivel.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 16, 2012
    40
    This stately chiller owes a lot to 1960s British flicks like "The Innocents" and "The Haunting," but unfortunately heads towards cliches with every step.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 16, 2012
    60
    There is nothing in the film that will keep you awake at night. Instead, The Awakening works much more subtly, with a profound sense of dread and resignation, a death-obsessed movie given life by Hall's performance.
  7. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Aug 6, 2012
    50
    Though handsome to look at, so-so supernatural chiller The Awakening recalls "The Others," "The Orphanage" and other haunted-house tales of recent vintage, making an impression more derivative than memorable.
  8. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Aug 14, 2012
    60
    This handsomely made spook story (love those echo-prone hallways!) becomes less involving the more the narrative's mysteries are solved. By the time all the tarot cards are on the table, it's likely that you too will feel conned.
  9. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Aug 16, 2012
    58
    As ghost stories go, this one's done just well enough to provide reminders of how it has been done better.
  10. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 6, 2012
    70
    A too-rare instance in which a gifted young actor signs on for a fright flick without coming away tainted, The Awakening places Rebecca Hall in a convincing historical setting and gives her more to do than widen her eyes in fear.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Aug 6, 2012
    60
    There are some nicely creepy moments, and director and co-writer Nick Murphy interestingly dramatises some of the neuroses feeding the appetite for ghostly phenomena – repressed sexuality, guilt and self-harm.
  12. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Aug 14, 2012
    60
    Hall's committed performance validates even the maddest developments, and she slips into the period well, recalling Virginia Woolf in her lank, swan-necked bearing and tremulous suffering.
  13. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Aug 16, 2012
    70
    The film benefits enormously from having the luminous Rebecca Hall as its lead. It also gains an ominous gravity from the haunted, wounded and wobbly England in which it's set.
  14. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    Aug 6, 2012
    40
    Solid production values lend a polish to the spooks and there are strong performances all round, especially from the ever-excellent Rebecca Hall, but there's little here to add to the well-worn haunted house genre.
  15. Reviewed by: Oliver Lyttelton
    Aug 16, 2012
    75
    Has more than its share of flaws, but it also gets its balance of tones right, proving spooky, involving and occasionally resonant, while still managing to bring something new to a well-worn tale, and providing a terrific lead part for one of the most promising actresses of her generation.
  16. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Aug 18, 2012
    70
    The Awakening has the good sense to find a mood and stick with it. It's not afraid to take itself seriously. It'll send shivers up your spine, both as a thriller and as the melodrama it eventually becomes.
  17. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Aug 17, 2012
    75
    The self-possessed Hall is well-suited to this proto-feminist role, smoking and rolling her eyes as the pasty old men around her exclaim, for what is clearly the millionth time, "An educated woman!" as if she were a zoo animal.
  18. Reviewed by: Chris Berube
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    There is a rich movie to be made about this culture of fake seers and gullible marks, but it isn't The Awakening, a dull British import that never lives up to the pretensions of its period setting.
  19. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Aug 16, 2012
    38
    The Awakening is nonsense, but with its posh British cast and colors drained to near-gray, it's very solemn nonsense.
  20. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    Perhaps this is a film that needs to be seen several times to fully understand the last 20 minutes. But in my book, that's not what a great ghost story should do.
  21. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Aug 16, 2012
    50
    The Awakening just meanders like an aimless ghost.
  22. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Aug 15, 2012
    67
    The Awakening is both a ghost story and an exploration of mourning and survivor's guilt, though a late twist turns the film away from its delicate merging of these two themes into something both more plotty and stilted.
  23. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Aug 15, 2012
    25
    The film takes pains to ensure that the story feel like laborious toil rather than a trip through the dark side of the ethereal.
  24. Reviewed by: Rosie Fletcher
    Aug 6, 2012
    60
    Creepy, jumpy, if somewhat samey, it's set above the spooker norm by its strong visuals, grief-steeped period setting and lingering ambiguity.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. Jan 30, 2013
    7
    This film is a good example of how modern horror films could be more original, rather than stick to the norm found on today's screens. Delivering itself like an early 1900s adaptation, the film captures the feel of the era through its sets, locations and costume design. Although the scares are sometimes expected, what's fresh here is the addition of tension created through the brilliant sound editing and score. There is certainly a bigger inclusion of drama than a lot of other horro films, to help the audience connect with our heroine through character development. Atmospheric, dark and creep, The Awakening is a tense post-WWI gothic horror which I would consider in the same vein as The Woman In Black. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2013
    4
    The movie was alright and was no better then the paranormal activity franchise, The paranormal activity movies are more entertaining then this and the trailer may be more entertaining. This movie was dull, boring and wasn't original but it had good editing and acting and that contributed a lot to the value of the production and story. Story 2/10, Editing 8/10, Camera shot and composition 5/10, Acting 9/10, sound and boom operation 6/10, sound mixing 5/10, Entertaining 1./10. Full Review »
  3. Aug 7, 2013
    9
    If you're looking for cat scares, you'll be disappointed. If you're looking for a film with atmosphere, impending horror, excellent plot twists, and British pacing, you're in luck. Full Review »