“Before I wake” (2016, Mike Flanagan, Intrepid Pictures, Demarest Films, MICA Entertainment, Relativity Media) is an innovative film about the dangers of having your dreams come true and the imaginative resilience of children.
Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) are absolutely devastated after their son Sean (Antonio Evan Romero) tragically dies. After some time, they decide to adopt a young boy called Cody (Jacob Tremblay) who is the same age as Sean would be: 8.
Cody is a polite and pleasant child whose mother died when he was only 3. However, Cody does not like to sleep, and Jessie and Mark are surprised to find out why. You see, when Cody dreams, his dreams become temporarily corporeal in the real world. Jessie begins to take advantage of this skill, but they all soon learn the downside when they meet up with one of Cody's recurring nightmares. And Cody's nightmares can kill...
This film has a lot going for it. Jacob Tremblay gives a fantastic performance as the haunted young Cody and both Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane create realistic and relateable parents. Jessie is consumed with her guilt and pain over the loss of her son, but Mark is determined to make the most of the new opportunity that Cody has given them, and his scenes are frankly adorable.
The premise is so imaginative and beautifully realised with stunning imagery and a haunting premise. The monstrous nightmare creature is also very different and very creepy. The design of the creature is creative. I love the way it moves. The twists and turns in the plot were good, I found myself thinking about the film quite a lot later on. There are admittedly some leaps in reality at the end of the film, but the full movie comes together nicely.
Director, Mike Flanagan, was also behind "Occulus", another film I found innovative and haunting to watch. I think we'll be seeing some more from Mr. Flanagan in the future.
Suspenseful and creative, this film was refreshing viewing.
[Image: Intrepid Pictures]