Are you into horror films? Like, REALLY into horror films? We call bullshit. No one is more into horror than our mainline to the under-verse, Haley. She breaks down your favorite scary flicks better than you knew possible. Her keen eye catches the scene within the scene and gives her the skills to critique films so you lucky High Fivers can glean a deeper knowledge of the psychology that is unique to the horror genre. Welcome, to the Gates of Haley.

Before I Wake May Have Missed Its Wake-Up Call

Okay fine, I’ll admit it. I’m a one hundred percent a Netflix addict (if you couldn’t already tell), and Netflix Originals almost always come through with nice filming and storylines. With the much-deserved success of Gerald’s Game and 1922, I’ve been keeping a sharp eye on any horror originals that Netflix lets seep into circulation. A little flick I’ve had my eye on for two years now, Before I Wake, has finally been released as a Netflix Original after a bankruptcy setback had left the fate of the film unknown. It’s here, finally, and if you’re a fan Oculus and Hush, well, this may or may not be a good day for you.

Before I Wake is the simple (yet heartfelt in a dark way) tale of a mother and husband who are dealing with the death of their own young child, and have recently been approved to adopt a calm, mild-mannered little boy named Kody. As Kody stays longer in his new house, strange and unexplainableBefore I Wake Review events begin to occur. As it turns out, little Kody’s dreams become reality as he sleeps. While beautiful and magical, this gift can also be a curse. Soon, things take a dark turn as the “Canker Man” that haunts Kody in his nightmares, begins to make an appearance in real life. Both adoptive mother and father race against time to figure out what’s causing these phenomena, and stopping his nightmares from consuming everything, even the things that Kody loves. Before I Wake separates itself from your typical jump-scare horror (which, let’s be honest, is released more often than wanted) in a unique way. The strong focus on childlike wonder and imagination gives this movie a fresh and imaginative twist but falls short on the “wow” factor.

While I’ve seen this “cookie cutter happy American family adopts a sweet little child only to find out everything isn’t as it seems” story played out hundreds of times, director Mike Flannagan approaches this sequence of events in a fresh new light. Much like The Babadook, the underlying meanings and concepts behind this movie really provoked thought in the end (stick through the slow buildup). I think the idea of the “Canker Man” being Kody’s last thoughts of his dying mother was a very dark, but interesting way to go. In this case, Kody has used dreams to connect with others, but also has a hard time accepting his mother’s death. The dreams/nightmares are a beautiful parallel on understanding death and coping with trauma.

Overall I think the idea of this movie is overplayed and the filmography was nothing special or memorable, but it’s very well acted and written, although I wouldn’t even slightly consider this a favorite, or even a movie I would watch again. But hey, if you like a digestible story and a fresh take on child-focused horror, this might be the film for you.

Don’t let me know how it goes, though.

About the Author (of Your Doom)

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