DAY TEN OF 31 DAYS OF HORROR
DEAD AWAKE - 2016
"Or how about when you wake up and you open your eyes, but you can't move, and it feels like something's holding you down. You hear weird noises and...you know something's in the room with you"
A random Netflix find last night that pleasantly surprised me! Dead Awake came out in 2016 directed by Phillip Guzman. It was created by the awesome mind of Jeffrey Reddick who created the Final Destination franchise. Dead Awake is about the horrifying true sleep disorder called Sleep Paralysis.
Kate and Beth are twins, Beth has lived a troubled life and is finally coming out of it. But unfortunately she's having sleep paralysis where she wakes up and is being strangled. Her sister goes to a sleep clinic with her and is relieved to find out this is a totally normal, but unfortunate, disorder. But Beth believes it's way more, and that night she dies in her sleep. The doctors call it an asthma attack but Kate is now also experiencing sleep paralysis and realizes it was a lot more that killed her sister.
I really enjoyed this movie. It remained a creepy mystery the whole way along as Kate (played by Jocelin Donahue) and Beth's boyfriend Evan (Jesse Bradford) try to uncover what is really going on and how to stop it. The acting was a little cringe at times but not enough to ruin the moment. There's some great sub characters that keep the story interesting. I found the character Linda's story really heartbreaking and Lori Petty is a standout, of course, as Dr. Sykes.
Dead Awake is great at building the tension. When people fall asleep, the light shifts and the music changes and you know something's coming. The old hag that appears when people fall asleep is suuuuper creepy and I liked that they didn't really show all of her until near the end so you weren't taken out of it by some awful CG business. And to be fair, when she's finally revealed, it's still pretty spooky.
Of course, the lore is questionable, but I love nothing more in a horror movie than when a group of people need help with something ghostly or demonic and find someone who seems to know everything about it and then ultimately end up in their creepy house trying to figure it all out. And Dead Awake was totally that. Life goal is to be that person...
It's not original by any means, and it is every horror trope, but I really had a good time watching it! I like that it also left it open to possible sequels without being so obvious about it, but I doubt we'll get one as this seems pretty low budget and low fanfare. Which is a shame because I think the lore could be built with this and we could get some pretty spectacular follow up stories.
There's some fun jump scares, some spooky imagery, and some great sleep paralysis lore. Overall, I do recommend it and would absolutely watch it again.