Sunday, March 31, 2013

"The Awakening" Movie Review – Sometimes Ghosts are Real

Runtime: 107 minutes
Release Date: August 17, 2012
Rating: R
Director: Nick Murphy

Florence prides herself on uncovering paranormal hoaxes and saving people from wasting money on charlatans. As the author of several popular books on the topic, she opens the film by exposing another group of fraudsters. She hasn't yet chosen her next case when she gets a surprise visit from the dashing and handsome Robert. He works in an all boys boarding school where a student recently died and the other children keep thinking that they see his ghost.

Florence discovers that all of the children are leaving for their break just as she arrives. She's all alone in the school with the housekeeper Maude, Maude's young son Tom, and Robert. Though Florence assumes that this is just another hoax, she quickly discovers that there's is something far darker in this old building and that she might have a connection to what happened there.

I very rarely read reviews of horror films before I sit down and watch a movie because I usually don't agree with what others say. That is especially true of "The Awakening" because I'm surprised that it got such positive reviews. I rented the film not long after seeing a trailer for it, and I actually came close to falling asleep in the middle. I had a hard time paying attention, and it felt like there was something missing.

The opening scenes when Florence strides into a supposed séance and rips apart the fraudsters was amusing and set up a great tone for the film. When she arrived at the boarding school, there were a few truly spooky scenes that kept my attention. The problem is that the film set it up so that you could put the pieces together yourself and figure out the ending. I don't know about you, but I like my twist endings to be real twists and not something that I can see coming a mile away.

It's one thing is there are a few moments that make you wonder what might happen or help you come up with a possible ending, but it's another thing when the film literally hits you over the head with those moments. Oh, no one else can see that character? Oh, you suddenly know what's behind that door or where that hidden passage goes? "The Awakening" is also one of those films that ends on an ambiguous note, which means that everyone and his brother has a different theory for what really happened. Me, I was just glad it was over.

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