Before I Wake
Fear your dreams.
A couple still in the midst of mourning their deceased child welcomes a foster child into their home. They soon come to the shocking realization that the boy’s terrifying dreams become their nightmarish reality.
Before I Wake is an imperfect film laden with imagination. It is about redemption, loss, and the healing thereafter. While the movie does have horror elements, the marketing campaign for the film did it a disservice by highlighting those elements.
In my eyes, Before I Wake is more of a dark fairy tale with an emphasis on the drama rather than the scares. While it is not horrifying in the most conventional of senses, the film is an astute reflection of the fears involved with parenthood and human failure.While much of the movie has to do with adult fears, it is just as much about our phobias as children and how those insecurities can affect us and the ones we love through the years if they are left to fester unchecked.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed the other Mike Flanagan films I’ve seen (Oculus being my favorite). This film probably has more to say than any of his previous films, yet sometimes struggles with the way it communicates those ideas. Some of the writing is too on the nose and when things are finally explained at the end, its done via exposition dump. There are stumbles in the storytelling and many of the “scares” are jump scares. However, I think Flanagan still managed to succeed in bringing something special to the screen. This feat is especially astonishing when you read up on some of the trials this movie faced.
Despite its flaws, Before I Wake still manages to be one of the better films in Netflix’s often lackluster horror library.