Dir: Mike Flanagan (2016)
Indie Horror fave Mike Flanagan delivers his first slightly average effort with this fantastical horror film about grief and loss. Before I Wake drops the potboiler tension of Oculus and Hush to head into the territory of the dream world; A common trope in classic horror but here it feels like more of a hindrance than a help for the talented film maker when a grieving couple adopt a young boy with a little nocturnal problem.
Kate Boswoth and Thomas Jane are solid as the couple who lost their son (Flanagan’s knack with his actors continues to grow) with a young Jacob Tremblay (the excellent star of Room) playing at perfect pitch. He’s a troubled soul, a foster child with a history of multiple carers, an odd obsession with butterflies and a deep seeded fear of sleep. When he does manage a little shut eye his new parents are haunted by images of their lost child. What is young Cody’s power exactly?
This is where Before I Wake comes apart; A muddled detective sub plot and a convoluted phantom story seems a little light and wildly uneven on scares considering Flanagan’s knack for dark creaky door film making. It’s not with out its creep out moments and it’s in no way an uplifting film but there is a sense of just a little too much light for this latest effort to match his earlier terrifying work.