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Summary / Analysis
Times of India
Jessie (Bosworth), Mark (Jane) and their little boy Sean made for a happy family until their son dies in a tragic accident at home. The couple then adopts a new foster child, Cody (Tremblay), in an attempt to rebuild their lives. However, their foster kid harbours a terrible and sinister secret that mixes the psychological with the supernatural. Cody's dreams manifest into reality. And this can be both a good and a bad thing. Both good dreams and bad have their effect in equal measure.
Before I Wake has an incredible premise, full of promise and grist for the horror fan to chew on. Think of it - a kid whose dreams become reality much to the betterment or detriment of those around him. And that could mean absolutely any dream. Be it about butterflies (an oft-repeated motif in the film) or a ghoul that looks like he escaped from the reality-horror videogame Dead Space 2.
Make no mistake about it - Cody can remind you of the eerie kid outta hell from The Ring, but his minimal supporting cast - the parents in particular - is a huge let down. For one, Jessie meanders through the film in some kind of a shell-shocked daze. She has lost a child, but her grief is never palpable. You cannot empathize with her. She pops pills but never tries to reconnect with the kid. Her chemistry with her husband is close to nil. And that is strange, as you'd think that tragedy can and should bring people together. Instead, she tries to play mind games with the kid and then plays detective.
Flanagan relies heavily on jump-scares. Brooding silences punctuated by loud crashes, bangs and demons in the background. It is all too predictable for horror buffs. The disturbed kid syndrome was played up to good effect in Babadook, The Ring and of course classic horror like Exorcist. But what we get here is a thin stew instead of a hearty brew. This is at best, cookie-cutter horror that joins the dots, fine, but it doesn't dish out anything memorable.
The film was originally to be titled, ‘Somnia.’ That would have made it the third Mike Flanagan film to have a single Latin word as a name after ‘Absentia’ (2011) and ‘Oculus’ (2013).
The film's domestic distributor, Relativity Media, filed for bankruptcy on July 2015, two months before the film's release causing makers to delay the release.
Struggling through a strained relationship, Jessie and Mark Hobson (Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane) haven't been the same since the loss of their young son, Sean (Antonio Romero). Unable to have other children, and trying to heal, they decide to take in a foster child. They bring 8- yearold Cody (Jacob Tremblay), whose mother Andrea (Courtney Bell) died from pancreatic cancer, into their home. He is a sweet, loving, bright little boy with one strange quirk: he does everything he can to avoid falling asleep. Jessie and Mark soon discover why. Cody's dreams can manifest physically when he sleeps, an astonishing ability that mesmerizes the couple with its other-worldly beauty. One night before he goes to sleep, Cody sees a picture of Sean. Later as their new son slumbers, Jessie and Mark are shocked when an image of their deceased son appears in their living room. Amazement and disbelief quickly give to an undeniable longing to see him again. Despite reservations, they set about trying to create a more complete picture of Sean in Cody's mind, so that they can visit with their "son" at night while Cody sleeps. But Cody is hiding a secret. Like many little boys, he is tormented by a boogie man. But unlike other children, when Cody has a nightmare about "The Canker Man" (a gaunt, monstrous vision of horror), his monster comes to life. As Jessie and Mark try to get Cody to sleep, and his boogie man creeps more into their lives, this new family realizes that they are in grave danger.
The Hollywood horror flick, 'Before I Wake' has hit the screens. Let's see what the Twitterati has to say about the film.
This movie is about dealing with loss and acceptance of death from a little child’s perspective and the end explanation will interest parents greatly. But it also makes the whole movie fall apart because real-world dramatics of loss just don’t blend with the horror elements.
Before I Wake follows the same trajectory as Mama – at first the child’s problem is ascribed to a psychological fault, then things turn supernatural and downright creepy.<br/>The difference is, Before I Wake’s denouement goes back to a real-life psychological explanation, where Mama just went full on ghostly emanations coming from out of this world, embracing its horror setting wholeheartedly.