The Awakening : A Ghost Story Not Really About Ghosts…Or Is It?

the-awakening-2011-movie-posterI just finished watching the awakening with the SO. We found it on a whim in the Netflix horror section and figured why not? It’s won some superfluous English film awards, and a few even less prestigious indie horror honors, how bad can it be? The answer was surprisingly good…and then surprisingly mediocre.

The acting’s damn decent. Rebecca Hall, who if youve never seen her, all you have to do is picture a British Scarlett Johansson built more like a supermodel than a superhero, and that’s her (and you totally see her boobs for like .3 seconds). Seriously, the resemblance is uncanny. She’s a myth de-bunker in post WWI London, which by itself is an interesting enough concept to merit giving this movie a try. Lots of dead young folks left lots of grieving, mentally unbalanced mothers as easy prey for con men and charlatans of the time.

Then Dominic West (or the Asshole guy from 300 who tries to swoop in on Gerard Butler’s wife while he’s off killing Persians) plays a very convincing wounded vet with just the right combo of angst and vulnerability that he totally gets to bang Supermodel Scarlet Johansson. Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge to you Harry Potter fanatics) rounds out the main three as the housekeeper who is sweet and lovable…until the last 10 minutes. Then she goes full-Umbridge on everybody. And it is glorious, if a bit contrived.

The interesting setting and strong acting is also coupled with an intriguing story. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you like a good ghost-oriented yarn, or would rather see a real person get gaslighted into thinking they were nuts by a poltergeist, this one’s for you. The pacing, acting, and story are enough to keep you guessing, and there’s enough jarring, jump-out-of-your-seat moments to keep a horror fan happy.

And then the ending. I like a twist just as much as the next guy, but when basically everything gets twisted for no apparent reason, I have questions. Like why I do feel like I need a shower-type questions. And you feel a bit cheated because apparently nothing you thought was real was. I liked part of the twist, really, I did, but it all happened at break-neck speed, in contrast with the controlled pacing of the rest of the film.

While I do kebitz, the ending wasn’t terrible. And if you like shocking for the sake of shocking its defintiely for you. And if you don’t, its still a very good movie I’d recommend if you’re spending an evening in and want something to keep you occupied, it can’t be beat.

I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

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