Customer Review

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly close to something great but not quite there, January 20, 2013
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This review is from: The Awakening (DVD)
The Awakening has all the trappings of a classical ghost story and starts strongly off the mark, mixing the post-Victorian fascination with seances, the massacre of World War I and the oddly placed skeptical brilliance of an educated lady who debunks the nonsense. Twenty minutes in, I was expecting a tightly plotted masterpiece that would keep me guessing and finally reveal some grand view from the jigsaw of clues. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.

The movie is shot beautifully and the director trades cheap scares for a long brooding eeriness that permeates the look and feel of everything. There are even moments of horror genius involving a doll's house that will make your skin crawl. There are so many good elements that make it feel like The Shining meets the Woman in Black.

But then there are so many scenes that go nowhere, clues that mean nothing and a rushed (and ambiguous) conclusion that doesn't ring true. I must have counted a half dozen red herrings that add nothing to the plot and have no payoff whatsoever. And once you know the big secret of the film, playing it backwards doesn't make much sense either.

This is brilliantly acted, especially by Rebecca Hall who practically carries the movie, and the direction is perfectly creepy. The script on the other hand needed more polish - it could have been a indie horror film classic but instead leaves the viewer frustrated.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 30, 2013 12:37:54 PM PST
This comment sold me: "There are even moments of horror genius involving a doll's house that will make your skin crawl. There are so many good elements that make it feel like The Shining meets the Woman in Black."

Renting it now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 30, 2013 12:38:51 PM PST
I hope you enjoy it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 10:05:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2013 10:05:41 AM PST
James, I was going to write a review, but reading yours I see my opinion wouldn't add much. I think I probably liked it much more than you did, however, and I think it IS a classic--and I thought the script was excellent in that way that Brit excel at plot and dialog. I do wish that a story might be written sometime in which skepticism about the supernatural would pay off in turning out to be correct. Besides Scooby-Doo, I mean.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 12:11:08 PM PST
Greg - I'm glad you enjoyed it. I agree though it would be great to see a horror movie where the skepticism pays off. I'm a Brit so maybe I should try writing a screenplay :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 12:14:28 PM PST
Oh, James PLEASE DO! I am a Yank and our horror is just awful. I love British, Spanish and Japanese horror. America hasn't done anything decent in years. My theory is, if you live in the country that gave the world Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens and Wilde, you have a leg up on great storytelling. See how greedily America devours BBC shows. We suck now.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 3:00:58 PM PST
I'm a big fan of Spanish and Japanese horror too - I love the style and tone. Well, if I get a screenplay finished, you'll be the first to know!

Posted on Feb 2, 2013 4:55:46 AM PST
Bookman says:
I agree completely. I thought it had great potential and there were parts that were effective but the things you point out were frustrating. In the end I wasn't sure what the ending meant, or what happened. Agree that American horror is pretty bad. Why is it so difficult to make a good horror film? One of my favorites is "The Innocents" based on Turn of the Screw. That was a lot scarier than all the jump-out-at-you, unimaginative frights.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2013 12:36:59 PM PST
Thanks for the comment, Bookman. Yeah, I didn't want to give away any spoilers in the reviews but there were a half dozen things that we set out as clues that went absolutely nowhere, like the ending had been rewritten without any regard for the first two thirds of the film. And then once you know the twist, playing it backwards didn't make much sense. The Innocents was excellent!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2013 1:24:27 PM PST
Bookman says:
I just saw "Mama" which was better but still not great. I'm a little tired of all the CGI monsters. The two little girls were excellent and very creepy throughout.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2013 3:10:06 PM PST
Thanks for the heads-up on Mama - I'm completely over the CG shocks too but will definitely check it out.
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