Competing with films like Nightmare on Elm Street and The Babadook, the boogie man genre is a particular hard one to crack.
A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams, and nightmares, manifest physically as he sleeps.
Beware the trappings of “Hollywood horror” … Hollywood at large is reluctant to embrace the thriving success of low budget horror, instead they roll the dice on more mediocre big budget productions. Its an unfortunate misstep in a very promising career for genre filmmaker, Mike Flanagan, who has previously delivered the goods with Oculus and Hush (two of my personal favourites).
Its unfortunate when the drama surrounding the film is more captivating then the film itself. Originally set for a release in May 2015, but pushed back to September 2015, and later pulled from the schedule entirely due to the company’s filling for bankruptcy, Flanagan was not having much luck with his latest film. Later even losing his original tended name for the film ‘Somnia’ (to the follow his creative flair of Latin titled films – Absentia and Oculus), to an uninteresting and unimaginative title.
Before I Wake starts with an interesting premise and while it has its moments it begins to dwindle midway. The jump scares are all a little too predictable, it’s got the shadowy background figures, demon children under the bed and the usual long bangs and clashes.
Before I Wake feels more like a story of a broken family drama than horror, each character is dealing with death, loss and grievance. In saying so, this film tries too hard to emotionally manipulate the viewers and the revelation of who and what the boogie man is just feels uneven and lacklustre.
What begins as a promising start, quickly falters towards a very rushed ending. Before I Wake’s fantasy elements are a refreshing feature into the bad dream genre, and Jacob Tremblay is absolutely adorable and a delight to watch, but not cute enough to rid the sour taste during the closing credits.
“Sometimes if I do this…it keeps him away”