The Awakening

Viewed – 26 April 2012  DVD

In the wake of World War I the world is gripped in the mourning of loved ones.  A hoax investigator plagued by her own demons, is called to an elite boarding school where sightings of a child ghost have the occupants fearing for their lives.  The simply gorgeous Rebecca Hall, hot off playing hostage to Ben Afflek’s bank robber in The Town is Florence Cathcart, a published writer and self-confessed skeptic who sets out to disprove claims that the boarding school is haunted, using her knowledge of science and a collection of gadgets.  But will her non-believer attitude finally be put to the test?

Now first of all this was familiar territory.  Picturesque but creepy old-England countryside and big stately homes dripping in foreboding atmosphere.  It reminded me of two movies, firstly Daniel Radcliff break-out The Woman In Black, then Spanish shocker The Orphanage … both quality heritage to borrow from (and their like) in my opinion.  With a credible, complex turn from Hall who really should be a bigger name than she is, as well as good support from Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, this had some decent scares, a cleverly written storyline, and a setting that certainly sent a few chills my way.

Directed effectively by Nick Murphy (TV’s Primeval) in his feature debut, this may wear its clichés like a coat of arms (do we really need another key hole meets scary face moment?), suffer from a few dodgy effects shots and could have been even scarier, but once I’d realised this was more a supernatural drama that an all out horror movie … I began to appreciate the acting, good ideas, twists and turns … making this well worth checking out.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

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