The Awakening (BLU-RAY)

The Awakening

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 47 Minutes
Bonus Features

Deleted Scenes, Anatomy of a Scream, Interview, Behind the Scenes

Professional non-believer and author Florence Cathcart (played by Rebecca Hall) spends her time rooting out con artists that use people who are in mourning over a loss of a loved one. Florence does not believe in ghosts or spirits and she really dislikes anyone who tries to make others believe they are there through tricks and hoaxs. But her beliefs are put to the test when she is approached by Professor Robert Malory (played by Dominic West) who proclaims that the boarding school he works at is truely haunted. Florence declines at first believing that the hauntings are just cruel pranks by the school boys but after learning that one boy recently died at the school Florence goes to investigate. While at the school Florence discovers more than what she had first believed that will make her question her beliefs as well as her sanity.

You know what's hard to find these days? A good horror film that makes you scared instead of what we now get which is some crazy person going around killing people in sick and disgusting ways with lots of blood and gore. People need to be reminded what a real horror film is, a movie that scares you, one that makes you jump, or one that has you afraid to sleep at night without the light on. The Awakening is one of those old horror films, which are now called thrillers, but it's a horror movie that makes you scared while watching it. I'll admit there where times that I got the hibby jibbies while watching The Awakening and I loved that feeling (ok I also hate it cause it made me look around my empty room). This movie does what I like in horror movies, it took a simple theory of a ghost haunting a school and made it spooky enough to get to me.

The Awakening's plot is an old one, take someone that doesn’t believe there are ghosts and show them ghosts. They also use the ghost in the tried and true fashion by putting in spooky see through no descript images on photos, flashing glimpses of the ghost in a mirror, and by quick cuts where we see them behind or near the character(s) and then gone. These methods work because they are still and will always be scary because it shows the unseen (and for me the I really don't want to know that they are there so they can remain unseen) images that scare us. That format is used quite well in The Awakening by having the ghost of a kid appearing around the school where it did make me a little creeped out.

Though as good as the plot is leading up to the ending, what makes this movie one that was fun to watch was the acting and the look of it. Set in 1921 England the setting is made to be during that time and it really looks that way. The boarding school, the wardrobe, and even the dialog are set to that time era and are pulled off nicely. I was impressed with the way everything looks old as well as how the lighting is overcast and gray to give it that feel like this is old and set so long ago. The Awakening has a believable look to it but the performance of Rebecca Hall as the skeptic who ends up believing was one of the shining points to this movie. She put a lot of effort into making this character likable and real as she quickly is made to realize that what she's believed her whole life and what she wrote about is not true. All the cast does a splendid job with their characters where we get a story being backed up by actors who know how to bring a character to life. What I didn't like was how the movie ends, though I won't say more than that so I don't give away the ending, but it was not one I agree with.

The Awakening has a decent picture quality to it where it almost looks like it's an old film but with sharp clear colors and details. One thing I noticed though was that at times there was a lot of grain and noise in the picture where some times there wasn't any. Typically seen in the blacks of a picture, which a lot of times this is the case in The Awakening, there is noise in the whites as well and it covers the whole picture. It's not bad but it's clearly noticeable but because the plot is set during 1921 it almost lends some credibility to the movie. One thing the Blu Ray does well is bring out the age in a film that is new. The colors are sharp and clear but they still have that overcast tone to them that makes the movie look old and a little cold. The fine detail stands out a lot that can be seen when the dollhouse scene is playing as well as some close up shots of Rebecca Hall. The Awakening has a better audio track that gives a near even level to the dialog, the sound effects, and music without any of them over stepping each other.


Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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