By Faith Haushona-Kavamba
WHEN one thinks of horror movies, the word balmy is not the first that comes to mind when trying to describe it.
However, Mike Flanagan’s Before I Wake (BIW) manages to produce a balmy ambiance in the midst of terror.
The film centres around Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and her husband Mark (Thomas Jane) who adopt a new foster child, Cody (Jacob Tremblay), following the death of the child.
Cody, appears sweet, considerate and loving, which draws the couple in, most especially because all his previous foster parents seem to have abandoned him.
However the couple soon realises that there is someone unique about their foster child, his dreams are manifested in real life and dissipate the moment he wakes.
While is seems fascinating at first, with Jessie using it as an opportunity to see her and interact with her dead son, the dreams soon become a nightmare haunted by a spooky figure he has named the ‘cancer (pronounced kanker) man’.
This figure has the power to absorb people in the real world but no-one knows where it takes them. Now the couple have to race to save themselves and their new sons.
There is nothing creepier than a child in a horror movie, especially the ghost or evil child, however Flanagan makes an interesting twist to his movie by actually making the child the innocent victim of his own fear. Perhaps this is what gives it the balmy effect as the viewer feels sympathy for the child.
While it initially seems that Jessie and Mark are there to help Cody, who has been abandoned several times, it becomes evident that he is actually there to help this grieving couple deal with the loss of their son.
At first glance it seems Mark is cold and stand-offish while Jessie is the more affectionate one. However it becomes evident that the former cares more about the child than his wife, who is begins using him as a place holder than uses his dreams to bring their child temporarily to life every night.
The cast is painfully convincing in portraying its characters, Mark as the indifferent husband who is hiding his grief, Jessie who goes about as if in trance and Cody the sweet boy who is desperately in need of a mother.
The movie, in moments that are meant to be lighter is clouded by an air of sadness as each of the characters are in mourning for various reasons.
Its only downfall is that its ending leaves the audience with too many questions. Questions such as what authorities would do now that they know about Cody’s power and whether the people abducted by the ‘kanker man’ will return from where they went, etc.
Perhaps Flanagan did it on purpose, aiming for an open-ended finale which will allow for a sequel. Regardless, it makes for an interesting watch and doesn’t scare to the point where one can’t sleep at night.
BIW is now available for rent on DSTV Box office for N$30
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015