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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Rebecca Hall
Dominic West
Imelda Staunton.
Directors
Nick Murphy.
Screenwriters
Stephen Volk
Nick Murphy.
Running Time
107 minutes

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The Awakening
Who you gonna Hall?


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Plot
In the aftermath of World War I, a "hoax exposer" (Hall) travels to an English boarding school to reveal the truth about a supposed ghost.


Review
The Awakening
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Beginning with a séance that hints at a strong supernatural element that it will never deliver, this British chiller features strong performances and an over-complex script that all but degenerates into far-fetched nonsense. Rebecca Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a professional debunker of the occult who is brought in by Dominic West to investigate strange goings-on at his boarding school. Orphanage-style scares follow, as the boys claim to witness the ghost of a deceased pupil, and Hall makes a convincing sleuth as she combs the halls for clues. The film’s excellent BBC production values only delay the inevitable, however, and a trite twist ending will have you longing for the more honest pulp thrills of Scorsese’s superior Shutter Island.


Verdict
Solid production values lend a polish to the spooks and there are strong performances all round, especially from the ever-excellent Rebecca Hall, but there's little here to add to the well-worn haunted house genre.


Reviewed by Damon Wise

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Awakening
Empire Star Rating

RE: The Awakening

keningAwakening is a handsome, well-acted thriller with a script that's never cringe-inducing. So why did it sneak its way onto home video with no fanfare? ... More

Posted by chang at 12:12, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


A decent ghost story with an eerie vibe but I was expecting the twist about halfway through. Aside from some strong performances and high production values it felt just a little to much like a rip off of 'The Others'. Particularly the scenes when Rebecca Hall searches the School with an oil lamp, that and the fact this is set post world war 1 and the Others is post World War 2. A lot of similarities but it was still decent film and I'd probably watch it again to look for clues to the ending. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisAJ20 at 20:43, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post


A decent ghost story with an eerie vibe but I was expecting the twist about halfway through. Aside from some strong performances and high production values it felt just a little to much like a rip off of 'The Others'. Particularly the scenes when Rebecca Hall searches the School with an oil lamp, that and the fact this is set post world war 1 and the Others is post World War 2. A lot of similarities but it was still decent film and I'd probably watch it again to look for clues to the ending. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisAJ20 at 20:43, 13 October 2013 | Report This Post


Who you gonna call?

The frights and chills are wholly expected, but delivered with a restrained perfection. As a ghost story, it sets out its stall and sells its wares beautifully. As is usual with this sort of thing, a lot of the story's power lies in the first telling, so avoid spoilers if you can. Best watched in the dark. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 11:36, 31 August 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Bit Harsh

Completely agree with the Hall's character inconsistencies Herr Schnitzel... Given the talented cast, the stylistic approach and its ideas around the devastation of loss suffered in the great war; those hoping for an experience mirroring the likes of the Orphanage are in for a crushing disappointment. What starts off as a depiction of a woman skeptical over the existence of ghosts but troubled by something in her past quickly descends into a chaotic mess with character motivations becoming... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:43, 28 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Bit Harsh

I thought this was fairly awful. Starts out intriguingly enough, but by the second half the film falls apart when revelation is piled upon revelation, none of it making that much sense or being that unexpected if you've seen similar films. The usually excellent Rebecca Hall stands no chance against a clunkily written role that has her strut around as an anachronistically proto-feminist ghostbuster, spouting lines totally out of place for that period. In the second half, just like the rest of th... More

Posted by Herr Schnitzel at 11:29, 17 November 2011 | Report This Post


Bit Harsh

I thoroughly enjoyed this last night. some solid scares and a few spine tingling moments (the dollhouse especially). I guessed the twist pretty early on but it didn't diminish the impact of the film as I could sit back and enjoy the director's attempts to continually hoodwink the audience. Strong performances throughout and a nice ending that sets out to be ambiguous but wraps things up quite nicely. see it if you enjoyed The Sixth Sense, The Others or The Orphanage 3.5 out of 5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:33, 17 November 2011 | Report This Post


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