Movie Review: Before I Wake (2017)

Good *insert the time of day you read this in here*, hope you’re doing well. Time for more spooktacular content. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Before I Wake”.

Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) are a loving couple who have made the decision to adopt a young boy (Jacob Tremblay). What they don’t know however is that this boy carries a special, strange secret. The story in this movie is an interesting one, often leaning more towards a dark fantasy rather than outright horror… at least early on. Towards the later half it leans heavier on the horror elements. And I must say that I found the story here quite enjoyable. It has some interesting themes that we’ve seen discussed multiple times in works by this director, and while this isn’t his most engaging or nuanced take on the subject matter, it’s still a generally well written and enjoyable narrative that managed to creep me out a few times.

The characters in this are alright, not the most deep or interesting ever, but they work well for the story. Kate Bosworth does a really good job as Jessie, Thomas Jane is great as Mark, Jacob Tremblay is of course great as Cody, the kid that the couple adopts. And then you also have an interesting supporting cast, featuring people like Annabeth Gish, Dash Mihok, Kyla Deaver, Jay Karnes, and more!

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, along with the Newton Brothers (talk about one hell of a teamup), and I’d say they did a solid job together. It’s an ambient score that manages to build a fair bit of drama, helping add a good bit of emotion to certain scenes. There’s also of course some classic loud horror hits, and they work fine, even though we’ve heard that sort of stuff a kajillion times.

“Before I Wake” was directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan (hell yeah), and also has a bit of an interesting production history. Apparently Relativity Media bought the rights in 2014, slating the film for a 2015 release, but later got pulled due the company going bankrupt. Eventually after much back and forth it then landed in the hands of Netflix, who finally released it in 2017 worldwide… except for the states who got it in 2018. So yeah, it’s an interesting tale. Anyhow, back to Flanagan.
This man doesn’t miss when it comes to directing. Even in this film, which isn’t one of my favorites he’s done, he still does a damn good job. His direction has this simmering, slowly burning, often dreamlike vibe that just makes each scene a hell of a lot more engaging.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 66% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.2/10.

While not my favorite film from Flanagan, “Before I Wake” is still an enjoyable little horror-fantasy that I can recommend. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Before I Wake” is a 7.44/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth watching.

My review of “Before I Wake” is now completed.

I don’t know about you, but before I wake, I sleep.

Series Review: Outcast – Season 2 (2017)

About a year ago I reviewed the first season of this show, and I thought it was really great. And now that season 2 is wrapped up I still wonder how this aired with little to no fanfare. At least when season 1 was airing, there was some hype around it… but no it’s almost like the show doesn’t exist. Oh well, let’s see how this second season is.

Ladies and gents… “Outcast” season 2.

We once again follow Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), the troubled young man with the ability to drive darkness out of a person, now having learned that his daughter (Madeleine McGraw) has inherited the same ability. And we follow them figuring this power out while also trying to stop a dark and probably evil event called The Merge. Throughout the season we get to learn more about the origins of Kyle and his abilities, while also giving us a bigger look into this world, including an in depth look into this cult that’s based in the forest. And while it’s interesting to see more of this world that’s been set up, I feel like the plot loses a bit of it’s focus. Season 1 had a very tight plot that had a consistent tension to it while still managing to be dramatic. Season 2, while containing an overall good plot filled with some good dramatic moments, doesn’t have that same focus. By showing the side stories of a lot of the supporting characters and by throwing in a whole bunch more lore it doesn’t feel as tight as season 1. So the plot here overall is good. Not great, but good.

The characters here are all pretty fleshed out and interesting. Patrick Fugit once again plays Kyle Barnes, the troubled young man also known as the Outcast (roll credits). After his “adventure” in season 1 he is a more determined and hardened man, not being as quiet and mopey as in season 1. And Patrick Fugit is great in the role. Philip Glenister once again plays reverend John Anderson, the priest who lost some of his faith after seeing all this dark and weird shit. And Glenister is relaly good in the role. Wrenn Schmidt once again plays Kyle’s adopted sister Megan, and after the horrible shit that happened to her in season 1, she is a bit more damaged than usual. It still haunts her in season 2 and it makes her quite an interesting character. And Schmidt is great in the role. Reg E. Cathey returned as Byron Giles, local police chief and friend of Kyle and Anderson. And Cahtey is great in the role. Brent Spiner once again plays Sidney, the msyterious man with mysterious (evil) intentions. And god damn, he is creepy… gets under my skin. So yeah, Spiner is great in the role. We also get to see more of Kate Lyn Sheil as Kyle’s wife, Allison, in this season, and she’s really good. We also get more of Charmin Lee who plays Rose, the wife of chief Giles, and she’s great in the role. We get introduced to Bob, a new ally and an old friend of Kyle’s dad. He’s played by M.C. Gainey and he’s great in the role. We also get Hoon Lee as a doctor who is important to the plot, but I’m not saying how because potential spoilers. So I’m just gonna say that he’s really good. Really, overall it’s a very well acted season of television.

The score for the show was once again composed by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Claudia Sarne. And once again it was great. It’s dark, eerie, suspenseful, and jsut overall helps create a very uneasy atmosphere for the show.

The show was, like I said in my review of season 1, created by Robert Kirkman, and it’s based on the comic books of the same name… which were also created by Kirkman (and Paul Azaceta). And the show was written and directed by a whole bunch of people (including Ti West, a decently well known guy). And in terms of overall craft this show is fantastic. The directing and cinematography is gorgeous, giving us plenty of “damn, that’s really good!” shots. And in terms of scariness this season… yeah, it’s not that scary. Season 1 was often bone chilling and actually managed to scare me a good amount. Season 2 on the other hand isn’t really that scary. That’s not to say that it’s not an eerie show, because it is. There’s a good amount of tension throughout the show which makes it a really interesting show. Also, there’s plenty of brutal gore and various other disgusting things on display here… and this is one of the few shows that has made me feel queasy because of it… so good job, “Outcast”.

It’s difficult to say how this season has been received because it barely even exists on review aggregator sites. Really, on Rotten Tomatoes there’s no trace of it. On Metacritic it exists but has no real score to it. And on imdb.com there’s no seasonal average, but the show in general has a score of 7,6/10.

“Outcast” season 2 is a little bit of a let down after the terrific season 1. That said, it’s still a really solid season of TV. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. The problems with it comes from the plot feeling a bit unfocused, and the scares not really being there. Time for my final score. *Boo*. My final score for “Outcast” season 2 is an 8,88/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that you should watch it!

My review of “Outcast” season 2 is now completed.

I hope this gets renewed for a third season.