How entertaining? ★★☆☆☆
Thought provoking? ★☆☆☆☆
11 November 2011
This a movie review of THE AWAKENING.
“There's no place on earth people understand loneliness better than here,” Maud Hill (Imelda Staunton)
Between 1914-9, one million people in Britain died of war and influenza. It is a time of ghosts. What a start! Could this be the dawning of a horror new wave in UK filmmaking? We’ve been getting tranches of great stuff from Japan, South Korea and most recently Spain. Did we not invent it with Bram Stoker’s DRACULA? There are two quality and charismatic actors to anchor proceedings: Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. The setting is 1921, post-First World War. This should have been nailed right? Nope. This was silly, inane and laughably bad in places. I wanted to like it. The opening had a creepy séance, which is shown to be a sham by ghost hunter and author Florence Cathcart (Hall), aiding the police as a civilian advisor to catch fraudsters. There are a few set pieces like the beginning that grip, but never for long enough. Worrying questions of logic arise with regards the plot, and there feels like there is too much bluster – anti-climatic climax and a meandering narrative. Have the creators not seen THE OPRPHANAGE? Hello! That’s how to make a haunted house film.
Florence is requested by Robert Mallory (West) to come to the school where he teaches to help with a ghost problem. There is some creepy staff, and most of the kids leave for the holidays. This is meant to make the place emptily eerie. Though instead seems lazy. Imagine a full school with nuttiness going on all around freaking everyone out! We get in its place a scene where Florence masturbates in a bath. Err? If I was in a haunted mansion in the middle of nowhere that’s the last thing I’d be doing. The end reveal makes you shout “Bollocks!” at the screen, that’s how daft the twist is.