Still mourning the death of their son, Mark and Jessie welcome foster child Cody into their lives. Soon they discover he has a strange ability.
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For those who go into ‘Before I Wake’ anticipating a run-of-the-mill horror film with gruesome effects and bloody deaths, you will be exceedingly disappointed. This film is provocative in that it makes you think and feel throughout. It is at times vastly uncomfortable, but magnificently redemptive.
It is a supernatural thriller following Cody; a child whose dreams and nightmares become real and physically alive. He has been through a few foster homes and there are a lot of dead and missing people, all because of his nightmares, one of which is Canker-Man, an alien/deformed monster who eats people. When he makes it into Jessie and Mark’s home, he fills them with hope as they see a beautiful butterfly on the first night he is there. They lost their son when he accidentally drowned in the tub and they have been grieving since then. They love each other but the strains in the relationship are beginning to show and with Cody’s introduction into their lives, they look for a new beginning.
Cody (Jacob Tremblay) has been moving from place to place because different foster parents have been adopting him from time to time. Now he is in the care of Jessie (Kate Bosworth) & Mark (Thomas Jane). Jessie & Mark soon realise that Cody’s dreams physically appear before them as he sleeps. Cody’s dreams are beautiful but turn very dark very quickly and the deadly fact is that the same thing happens during his nightmares. Cody is haunted by the Canker-Man, who Jessie believes to be a figment of Cody’s imagination however whenever Cody has nightmares the Canker-Man turns up to eat people, the amount of stress the boy feels as he desperately tries to stay awake is understandable and makes him an extremely sympathetic character for the audience. This is one of the only horror films that have made me fear for the safety of a child (Cody) during the story, because there are times during the film that it feels like Jessie doesn’t actually care about Cody but only about her self-interests whereas Mark seems to be more concerned about Cody’s welfare, and not wanting to use him as a personal home cinema.
You quickly get comfortable in the storyline and feel right at home with the characters, because there is a lot of personality and story attached to them and it is presented in a most enjoyable way. The characters are so well-fleshed out on the screen that it feels like you are in the movie yourself. There are a good amount of spooky and disturbing moments throughout the course of the movie (I hid behind a cushion a few times) and this is really a good thing because it adds so much to a horror movie when the movie manages to instil some kind of fear or dread in the audience. As for the actual thing that follows Cody around, well I will not go into details about what it is or anything, but I will say that it was really nicely made and it really did appear spooky.
The ending of the film is just perfect because whilst it explains who and what the Canker-Man is and why he exists, it still leaves open some questions for the viewers to decide the answer to as well. What will happen to those who were ‘eaten’ by the Canker-Man? and Why did Cody have these abilities in the first place?
Before I wake is not your typical horror film but is definitely worth watching.
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