Before I Wake Review
Oh my god. You need to see this movie! This review will be riddled with spoilers because I need to talk about every aspect. This movie is utterly amazing and, even though classed as a horror, it has so many more layers it almost had me crying at the end with how heartfelt it was.
Watch it now if you haven’t, and if you have, continue reading…
Before I Wake follows a couple, Jessie and Mark who foster a young boy called Cody, after their own son Sean is accidentally killed in a drowning incident.
The pair soon learn that Cody has a special gift in which while he dreams he can project them into real life. He starts to dream about Sean as he learns more about him and of course Jessie is extremely excited about this as she gets to see her son again.
But Cody is terrified of this gift as not only do his dreams come alive but so do his nightmares including a ghastly skeleton figure that seems to take people away, kind of like a reverse Freddy.
Jessie exploits Cody’s power until things go terribly wrong and the skeletal being kills her husband. She then must find out what she can do and how she can stop the being killing again.
Now this is where more layers come into the story. Cody calls the being the ‘Canker Man’ a monster that ate his mother. It turns out in fact that Cody’s mum died of cancer and his last memory of her alive was her incredibly thin and weak from the treatment about to die. Due to his age he didn’t understand that the word was cancer or what it even meant and so developed a demon like being that haunted his dreams as it took his mum away.
It’s actually a gorgeous little way of looking into children’s minds and how they don’t understand the world as well or as much as adults do. Cody is of course scared of the cancer man even though that person is his mum because that is not how he remembers, or believes, he remembers her. This thing was what tore his world apart at a young age and took him into different foster homes where the cancer man would take other people just in a different way.
Another part of the story is how one of his foster parents tries to kill him after his wife is taken by the cancer man but cannot do it as he knows it wouldn’t be right. But he also believes this would’ve been the only way to stop the child’s gift. It’s not however as we learn a parents’ love can take away the badness and if the child is properly educated on the problem it can go away. Like Jessie’s witch story, once she knew it was a branch not a witch it stopped bothering her, once Cody knew the cancer man was not some evil thing but really a misunderstand manifestation of his fear from his mother’s passing it no longer caused a problem.
But what I loved about the ending was Jessie’s husband does in fact die but this is not sad. Jessie gets a son who has a wonderful gift and is able to care for him as he should be cared for while her husband Mark gets to be with their biological son again. Although it is hard it seems Jessie has gone through her grieving process with the dreams Cody would have of Sean and is able to let him go so to speak while Mark now gets his chance. It is also hinted at that Mark had something to do with the child’s death, not in a murderous sort of way but more he was supposed to look after the child in the bath and didn’t and he drowned, and now he is able to make peace with that choice and make up what he did with his son in the spirit world.
Although this movie is marketed as a horror movie it is so much more and I just adore it. Each character is interesting and the visual effects are gorgeous. It makes you feel such a range of emotions and really should be enjoyed by more audiences. This isn’t just a horror movie, it’s a heartwarming, fantasy film with horror hidden within the folds.
But, all in all, I love this movie and hope more people get to experience it as they really should.
What do you think of Before I Wake?
Until next time.