‘Before I Wake’ Film Review

Grade: A-

For a while, Mike Flanagan’s ‘Before I Wake’ was suspended; at the time, Relativity Media (the original distributor of the horror film) filed for bankruptcy, causing it not to have a theatrical release for quite some time. Who knew that it would be a Netflix original film in 2018! It was quite the surprise to see that the film – starring Kate Bosworth and up-and-comer Jacob Tremblay – had finally got the release after quite some time. I decided to watch ‘Before I Wake’ with my girl two weeks ago when she was in the mood for a movie. She was excited, yet I was skeptical. Horror movies are lacking in quality with incessant jump scares, and over-exploitation of gore just to get a reaction from audiences. Thankfully, ‘Before I Wake’ uses very little of these out-of-nowhere shocks, and mainly delivers a surprisingly deep story to overcome its horror movie tropes.

While I cannot give anything away, ‘Before I Wake’ focuses on a boy named Cody (Tremblay), who suffers a strange form of insomnia, wherein he conjures up beautiful, glowing butterflies while he sleeps. At first, it seems peaceful and calm, yet with each dream Cody has, there is always a nightmare every now and then. In the world of the horror-fantasy, these are no ordinary nightmares; the once-butterflies turn into moths that bite, and a sinister creature, which he calls “The Canker Man” comes to terrorize anyone who is near. This curse that accompanies his blessing causes Cody to be transferred from foster home to foster home, until he eventually lands in the care of Jessie and Mark Hobkins (Bosworth, and Thomas Jane) – who are more than welcome to give him a home.

Once night falls and Cody starts sleeping, the dreams happen, and the Hobkins get a surprise visit from their dead son Sean (Antonio Evan Romero) in the form of visions. Based on earlier evidence, you can see how this all turns out. While ‘Before I Wake’ is what you expect from your typical horror movie, the emotional moments help balance the horror in the most unexpected way.

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