Good Luck Staying Awake Through This
Ironically, Awake is a movie you’ll find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open to. This thriller is light on the thrills and heavy on the snoozing. Awake’s story serves as a barebones backdrop to a formulaic post-apocalyptic romp that feels like it’s been written by an algorithm.
While some of the acting is okay, the overall premise is never expanded upon, turning this one-tune plot into a bum note that never looks like recovering.
The story actually starts quite brightly, with a devastating global event in the form of a large EMP blast. Electronics immediately switch off, cars are unresponsive and the world is pulled into a blind panic. As a side effect to this EMP, everyone across the globe is now unable to sleep. However, a former soldier called Jill happens to be Mum to a girl called Matilde who can still sleep. How? What happened to her?
This essentially serves as the crux of drama here as Jill uproots her family and tries to find answers while hunting down another survivor who could hold the clues she seeks. With little characterization and some absolutely jarring moments of humour, Awake meanders through 90 minutes of formulaic post-apocalyptic hell to find answers that never really arrive.
To be fair, there is a brief explanation at the end over what actually caused this but not enough to come away with a satisfying finale. It also doesn’t help that the characters slot into tired tropes we’ve seen a million times before in this genre. The snarky teenager who’s not happy with his Mum? Check. The little kid who holds the key to saving the world? Check. The Mum who’s going to singlehandedly bring her family together and save everyone? We’ve got bingo!
The result is a tired and bloated movie that feels surprisingly long given the 90 minute run-time. Now you could point out that Bird Box is quite similar and I actually gave that a good review. While that’s true, Awake doesn’t have the same element of unpredictability, nor does it have the wherewithal to keep its mystery enticing. The way everything just suddenly descends into shooting and mania here feels so sudden and completely out of character.
The script is easily the weak link and it actually feels like it’s been concocted up by an algorithm. The ending is easily one of the worst of the year, with lots of unanswered questions and a cop-out that could easily have pinged up with a “to be continued!” during the final fade-to-black segment. In fact, I actually watched through the credits to see if there was a post-credit scene. Alas, there is not.
Awake is a snooze fest in the worst possible way. It’s a movie that fails to entice with an intriguing premise and arms itself with a lackluster final act and a sheer lack of enthusiasm. This is one to avoid.