31 Days of Horror: The Awakening (R; 2011; 107 min)

the awakening

I was so glad to have taken a chance on this instant-watch movie on Netflix…a true ghost story with smart acting and an engaging plot.

Set in post-war 1921 London, The Awakening follows Florence Cathcart, an uppity young writer and ghost researcher who has dedicated her days to exposing hoaxes which prey on those experiencing loss after World War I. Summoned to a boys’ boarding school in the countryside to explain recent sightings of a ghost, Florence is all science and reason. She uses her extensive knowledge and skills to lay traps for the foolish person trying to scare those at the school. The list of suspects is not too long: a hateful caretaker, a cruel teacher with an odd medical condition, the old headmaster, an odd yet kind cook/housekeeper, a handful of mean boys who shun and tease the weaker among them relentlessly, and Robert, the war-damaged man who brought her to the school to begin with.

As her investigation takes her deeper into the workings of the school, we also learn more about what propelled Florence to enter into such an unusual field of study and career path. And as we learn more about the estate’s history, we discover that maybe, just maybe, there might really be a ghost residing within. How else can you explain some of the things which are happening even as Florence continues laying her traps and finding reasonable explanations? Or is it all just her mind playing tricks on her too? Will she find the answer she is seeking for herself and the school?

The Awakening features many twists and turns, with lots of great scares, wonderful mood lighting and sufficiently creepy characters. But more than that, it’s an intelligent ghost story that doesn’t rely on gore to do the hard work. I highly recommend it during your 31 Days of Horror.

  • Top Scare: Little figures
  • Heartbeats: 3 1/2 out of 5
  • Gore Factor: 2 out of 5
  • Suspense Factor: 4 1/4 out of 5
  • Recommended for 17 and up, due to full frontal nudity
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