Before I Wake (2016)
October 22, 2018 7:11 AM - Subscribe

About an orphaned child whose dreams - and nightmares - manifest physically as he sleeps. From Mike Flanagan, the writer/director of The Haunting of Hill House.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Flanagan's lowest rated film on RT (only a 61), but still fun. Sort of a PG-13 The Sixth Sense vibe.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:12 AM on October 22, 2018

Relative to his other directorial work (that I've caught: the Hill House series is still on my to-watch queue), I definitely agree with the lower rating. Still an okay time overall, but I was mostly frustrated with parts of it not being baked fully. It briefly brought up the kid having unavoidable microsleep waking-dreaming flashes thanks to trying to never sleep, which was a great touch...and then the movie kind of forgot that it brought it up after using it once.

Also it really didn't feel like it earned its ending. "It doesn't feel like it can [have a happy ending]" the lad says, and I wonder if that was deliberate lampshading because it was forced on the movie.
posted by Drastic at 8:52 AM on October 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

This one of the few movies Flanagan made that I didn't enjoy mainly for the reasons Drastic pointed out.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:13 PM on October 22, 2018

I watched this just now and read the IMDb trivia, which includes this bit:

Director Mike Flanagan had repeatedly objected to the film being marketed as a "horror movie," and instead referred to it as a "fable" or a "supernatural drama."

This definitely makes the happy ending more sensical. And remember, the ending isn’t fully happy—none of the people who were taken by the Canker Man have come back, that was just Jess telling a story! But with time and training of the gift and love, they may yet.

I am guessing that a part of the low rating is that the movie was marketed as a horror film, and has all the trappings of a horror film, but doesn’t quite follow the horror script. Fair enough! But I enjoyed it, and it was great to see Courtney Bell from Flanagan’s first movie, Abstentia.
posted by ejs at 2:59 PM on October 28, 2018

I read an interview where Flanagan was describing the classic "Let's take this kid into a lab and see what his powers really are" scene that was written but not filmed. While I can see how a) that is a bit of a cliche and b) it might have been a narrative drag if not done well, I can't help but think that it would have shifted the film enough into sci-fi to shuffle off the horror expectations and make the ending sit better.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:32 AM on October 29, 2018

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