Before I Wake aka Somnia

Jessie and Mark are a married couple trying to cope with the death of their son Shawn.  Jessie attends group therapy but Mark doesn’t and is trying to deal with it in his own way.  They offered by social services the chance to foster a lad named Cody who has himself met some tragedy in his young life.  Both of them feel they are ready and Shawn comes to live with them.  He’s a polite little chap if a little shy, but he soon warms to his new foster parents.

One evening Jessie and Mark are sat in their living room when the room is filled with beautiful butterflies who fly around and soon disappear.  A day or so later, they are visited by their dead son who they are able to touch and hug.  He soon disappears and it transpires that Shawn can some how make ‘dreams’ come true.  He doesn’t like to sleep and keeps himself awake with fizzy drinks and sugar.  Shawn tells them he is menaced by an entity he has called ‘The Canker Man’.

Before I Wake is another powerful and well made horror thriller from Mike Flanagan the director of Absentia and Oculus.  The film features without doubt a career best performance from Kate Bosworth as Jessie and Thomas Jane as Mark is equally as good.  Shawn is played by Jacob (Room) Tremblay, a really gifted little actor and Flanagan really lets the young thespian shine in his scenes.  The actual Canker Man is a disturbing sight and stays a lot in the shadows and when he does show himself he’s a frightening bugger.

It’s so sad that the film has been caught up in distribution limbo in the US, however our friends across the pond can easily pick up a Canadian release.  The version I’ve reviewed is an Italian Blu-ray which is in English DTS 5.1 and retains it’s original title of ‘Somnia’ which is so much better than ‘Before I Wake’ which is the name of the movie in North America.  The disc even has a decent ‘making of’ doc as an extra.  Since then Flanagan has made the brilliant ‘Hush’ which is an exclusive on Netflix and the sequel ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ which is so much better than the dodgy first film and a terrific film in it’s own right.

The good news is that Before I Wake is now available on Netflix UK, so please don’t delay and watch this excellent film from a chap who is a bit of a genius when it comes to cranking up the tension.

Scary atmospheric stuff which really blew me away.

  • Starring Thomas Jane  Kate Bosworth  Jacob Tremblay  Annabeth Gish
  • Director Mike Flanagan
  • Distributor Koch Media/Midnight Factory/Netflix