Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings
Positive: 11 out of 11
Mixed: 0 out of 11
Negative: 0 out of 11
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Jan 30, 20137This 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.… Collapse
Oct 4, 20127The Awakening is an atmospheric ghost story that is often creepy but lacks scares, the performances are decent and most of the film is quite enjoyable to watch. The film is also sometimes predictable and even mind-blowing at times, though sometimes the film can feel confusing and leave viewers scratching their heads. The Awakening also descends in goodness as the film goes on; it starts off quite good, but then it ends up being disappointing with a nonsensical and lame conclusion.… Expand
Aug 29, 20126This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The first half of the movie is outstanding, which makes it much more of a shame that the second half is so shallow and unoriginal.
It begins in the early 1920s. Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is a wealthy, university educated, strong, independent, opinionated woman (and published author) who has made a name for herself discrediting spiritualists, debunking hauntings etc.
What makes her stand out, though, is that she's not simply a typical one-dimensional cardboard cutout. Early on, particularly, she shows an intense frailty despite her strong outward demeanor. Having lost a young man during the war, inside she's a mess, crumbling with guilt over her betrayal of a man who loved her, and his subsequent death in the war. They never say it, but it seems that in her fiery desire to discredit ghosts, she's passionately looking for faith, for proof of life beyond death, for proof that the man who loved her isn't simply spoiled meat under the ground. Each time she finds proof that the ghost is a hoax, she crumbles just a little more, even to the point of losing all will to live.
She's met by the admirably subtle Robert Malory (Dominic West). His outward strength, like hers, is a facade. He takes tremendous pains to hide a mild stutter and a slight limp. He tells Florence of a ghost haunting the boarding school where he teaches, and mildly bullies her into coming to debunk it so that the young boys at the school can sleep at night, yet it's obvious that HE believes in an actual spirit.
One of the things that touched me, were the performances of Dominic West and especially Shaun Dooley, who played the abusive teacher Malden McNair. There's a scene where Malory (West) suddenly becomes awkward and excuses himself. He goes to his room and begins shaking uncontrollably, in what looks like an epileptic seizure. Bearing in mind, he's a WWI veteran, I imagined it was the long-term after-effects of nerve gas. It's the kind of detail most people wouldn't think of in writing a character for a movie such as this. McNair, for all his bluster, is likewise frail. He suffers a chronic cough. TB? Or damaged lungs? At one point, after admitting bullying a student mercilessly, he pleads with Malory that he didn't want to coddle the boys, that he wanted them to grow up strong, and "not like us." Again, I was touched by the sensitivity, the awareness of how the tremendous fear one experiences in war can be completely unmanning, debilitating even years later.
But even for al the magnificently subtle characterization and plot weaving, about halfway though the movie, it was almost as if the writers threw up their hands in despair and said "Where can we possibly go from here?" The second half of the movie virtually ignores the subtle build-up of the first half, and instead we have a few cheap and unnecessary dramatics, a rather awkward and (in my opinion) out of place and unnecessary sex scene, followed by a rather desperate sewing together of plot pieces from The Sixth Sense, The Others and The Haunting.
The movie had good suspense, but the plot just seemed to take a ridiculous turn in the second half, and not even an original turn. The actors and actresses, particularly those mentioned above and also Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Tom, were fantastic. Not a bad movie, but disappointing.… Expand