I went into Before I Wake not knowing much and not really expecting much either. At the end, I think I watched one of the best supernatural thrillers I have seen this year. It is definitely a hidden gem.
The film is about a couple Jessie and Mark who after losing their only son to a tragic accident adopt Cody, a troubled yet gifted child. What makes Cody so gifted is that, whatever he dreams it becomes reality, nightmares included.
After discovering his ability Jessie, the mother, wants to take advantage of his gift to heal from losing her child. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst and to save her family Jessie must discover the truth behind Cody’s nightmares.
I usually find child actors in horror movies annoying but Jacob Tremblay who plays Cody does a fantastic job. His character is a very troubled young man and I was really rooting for him throughout the movie. The father Mark played by Thomas Jane is also a highlight in the movie as he is the only one with a sense of reason.
Unfortunately, his character isn’t as prominent as I would have hoped and the female protagonist Jessie played by Kate Bosworth takes a more leading role. She doesn’t do a bad job in acting I just didn’t find her character engaging and at times quite annoying. Thankfully, she does redeem herself in the second half of the movie and ultimately plays a key role in putting all the puzzles together.
What I liked about the movie was its originality. I would not call it a horror movie even though there are some scary scenes. It’s more of a supernatural fantasy thriller. If you have watched movies like Mama (2013) or Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) you will find Before I Wake enjoyable. I wouldn’t say its better then the two movies I mentioned but its similar. There is a twist at the end, which will leave the viewer with a bittersweet feeling and to be honest with you it left me feeling quite sad.
The movie is far from perfect. It skims over many things that I would have hoped it had delved deeper into. For example, the movie doesn’t really explain to you how the child managed to get his gift and how he manages to sleep every night.
To conclude, Before I Wake is a surprisingly good movie. It succeeds in mixing elements of fantasy, supernatural, and horror in a way that only a few movies have done in the past. It is not going to win any Oscars any time soon so you need to have realistic expectations before going into it. If you do so you will be rewarded with a very good and ultimately original supernatural thriller. I would highly recommend this movie.
Scare Factor 8/10
The good – original story and great performances
Bad – could have gone deeper into the story