Sometimes the best cinema trips are those that are not planned. I got a text on Friday morning to see if I wanted to venture to the Queen’s Film Theatre after work to see The Awakening and of course the answer was always going to be yes.
PLOT: It’s 1921 and England is just starting to get over the horror of WW1. With charlatans preying on the recently bereaved ghost hunter Florence (Rebecca Hall) exposes them with her frank analysis of their schemes. Florence is hired by Robert Mallory, (Dominic West) the history teacher of a posh boarding school, after a child mysteriously dies and the pupils are terrified they are being hunted by a ghost. Florence exposes the truth behind the child’s death but discovers something is still lurking in the school. END PLOT
On the face of it the plot is standard fare and I called the “twist” before the halfway point. If you put all the cast members around a table and purposely ignore one of them I think it’s fair to say that there is a ghost in the midst. I was proved right in my guess however the film did not end there and ran on for another unexpected and downright tense thirty minutes. The twist will not shock or surprise you but the back story came completely out of nowhere and took me totally by surprise. It was very clever to turn the obvious into a false twist. A basic and simple plot was very well executed.
Rebecca Hall and Dominic West both deserve long and respected careers and in The Awakening they cannot be faulted. They both add a touch of class to the film and they suit the style and tone of the extremely well.
The supporting cast of Imelda Staunton and Isaac Wright were also very strong especially in the final Act.
The Awakening is the first major film by director Nick Murphy however he managed to create some legitimately creepy moments. The scene with Florence looking through windows of a large dolls-house only to find the dolls in each room portraying moments from the film was absolutely brilliant. The tension could be felt as Florence made her way through the rooms until she reached the attic room where she was standing. This was my favourite section of the entire film.
The 1921 setting worked very well and the scenery and English countryside has never looked better. The film looked amazing.
I absolutely love supernatural horrors however if I want to watch something decent in this genre I normally have to look to Spanish film and lets be honest this is never a chore. The Awakening is a much stronger film than it first appears and it works on every level. It gets a well deserved 8/10. I loved it and thoroughly recommend it!