The Awakening (2012)
Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), author of the popular book "Seeing Through Ghosts," has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiancť, she is approached by Robert Mallory (Dominic West) to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy's ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her. -- (C) Cohen Media Group … More
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Critic Reviews for The Awakening
Though the story spirals a little out of control in the film's final scenes, "The Awakening" offers the low-key pleasures of an old-fashioned thriller and a lovely central performance.
The cast is anchored by two wonderful actresses: Imelda Staunton and Rebecca Hall, whose talents are squandered on this lackluster horror drama.
When these sudden surprises work, as in "A Beautiful Mind" or "The Others," you're too stunned to swallow that next handful of popcorn; when they don't, you're tempted to throw your whole box at the screen.
A dull British import that never lives up to the pretensions of its period setting.
An enjoyably old-fashioned ghost story in the vein of "The Others" and "The Orphanage."
a ghost story that wants to be more than just a ghost story, but in the process of trying to be a movie that transcends a genre, it insults the genre
The Awakening glides ghost-like through its story, laying its own elaborate traps along the way.
The Awakening is a handsome, well-acted thriller with a script that's never cringe-inducing. So why did it sneak its way onto home video with no fanfare?
[Rebecca Hall] captures Florence's flinty intelligence and the vulnerability that emerges as she slowly discovers the school's dark secrets.
A concise little old-school British ghost story, and I say there's always room for a few more of those.
Murphy exhibits a deft touch for a first-timer and can feel satisfied that his film honours the tradition of such spooky Brit works as The Haunting and The Innocents.
... manages some effectively creepy imagery along with a few clever plot twists.
Exquisite production design and admirable performances can't overcome the lackluster scares.
Murphy shows tremendous skill with genre elements, helping The Awakening to overcome its formulaic origins, keeping attention on panic and skepticism, not just on cheap thrills.
Though slightly undone by a twist that demands a grain or two too much credulity on the part of the viewer, it nonetheless triumphs as a tone poem of an unsettled zeitgeist that plays cat-and-mouse with that same viewer right until the very end.
A strong, moving performance by Rebecca Hall coupled with an eerie atmosphere thanks to the top-notch cinematography provides enough palpable tension and scares to compensate for its weak, convoluted ending.
While it offers more goosebumps than gasps, it's a pleasurable reminder of the sort of discreet supernatural thriller that was once a staple but is now, unhappily, a rarity.
The big climactic reveal intended to explain the entire movie ends up being both confusing and ridiculous.
Audience Reviews for The Awakening
Maud Hill: There's no place on earth people understand loneliness better than here.
"All the children are gone... except one."
The Awakening is less of a horror film than one would be led to believe. However, its horror elements are pretty well done. For one, the setting is magnificent. An old and extremely large former home, that has been made into a boarding school is the setting of the story and it looks great on the inside and out. Also, while the atmosphere seemed a little low-key for the setting and story, there was still that feeling of helplessness. The best piece of the horror elements is the character Maud though, and how we perceive her at different parts of the movie. Also, the actress who plays her couldn't look creepier.
Florence is a woman whose life is disproving ghost stories. She's even written a book called "Seeing Through Ghosts." When a man named Robert shows up at her home and tells her about the ghost troubles in his boarding school, she leaves with him to investigate. Once there, she meets an admirer and the schools "nanny," Maud. As she investigates the house she thinks she has pinpointed the culprit in this case, but when all the children leave except for one, she's left feeling like she hasn't figured it out quite yet.
While, The Awakening has its share of problems, it's still a well done, if messy film. The messiness comes in spurts and when it's messy, it's really fucking messy. Somehow though, it all seems to clean itself up by the end of the film and I was left oddly satisfied, when similar endings have left me disappointed. Plus, Rebecca Hall in the lead as Florence is terrific as always, and also beautiful as always.†
This ones worth a look if you love setting type horror films that are twisty. It isn't anything all that original, but it somehow feels like a movie type that you've never seen before. This is weird as I could name countless movies that are extremely similar, but fuck it, it was pretty good. I think this is a movie that could surprise people who give it a chance. I know I didn't expect anything from it and the only real reason I gave it a chance was because of Rebecca Hall's presence.†
Despite the promising beginning and the solid art direction, this conventional ghost story never rises above its clearly derivative narrative - which, among many deficiencies, tries to be clever with a lame (and unnecessary) twist but is only convoluted and obvious.More
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