BEFORE I WAKE (2014) Reviews and overview

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Before I Wake is a 2014 American horror film directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s GameAbsentia; Oculus), from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Howard. It stars Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, Jacob Tremblay, Annabeth Gish and Dash Mihok.

The music was composed by Danny Elfman and The Newton Brothers.

On April 4, 2014, Relativity Media acquired the US distribution rights. The film was originally scheduled to be released on May 8, 2015, but was pushed back to September 25, 2015, and later pulled from the schedule due to the company’s filing for bankruptcy. The film is still awaiting a theatrical release.

The film had its North American premiere there on July 31, 2016 at the Fantasia International Film Festival.



Jessie (Bosworth) and Mark (Jane) decide to take in a sweet and loving 8-year-old boy, Cody. Unbeknownst to them, Cody is terrified of falling asleep. At first they assume his previous unstable homes caused his aversion to sleep but soon discover why: Cody’s dreams manifest in reality as he sleeps. In one moment they experience the incredible wonder of Cody’s imagination and in the next the horrific nature of his night terrors.

To save their new family, Jessie and Mark embark on a dangerous hunt to uncover the truth behind Cody’s nightmares…



“Everything works, from the whimsical imagery of the butterflies to the “cancerman” creature that torments the orphan (and everyone else he comes in contact with). There were a few things I thought were strange that I just rolled my eyes at, only to learn later they were actually very cleverly placed and made perfect sense within the context of the story.” All Horror

“It’s an impressive genre film in many regards, not only because it’s exceedingly well-crafted and compelling, but Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard do a remarkable job of injecting a lot of heart and humanity into what could have been just another diverting yet familiar ghost story.” Nerdist

“Wildly uneven, Before I Wake has its moments, but it never quite gels into something coherent or greater than the sum of its disparate parts. While some individual scenes will stick in your memory – the arty concepts for some of the scarier parts are quite beautiful, as is the explanation for what Cody manifests – the film is more holey than righteous.” Independent Online

Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane star in Before I Wake

“An interesting mess, Before I Wake is two-thirds of a really solid horror/drama hybrid with fantasy elements, but the good is done away by a convoluted ending that doubles-down on Flanagan’s ambitions but doesn’t quite make the grade.”

“The more you earnestly try to engage with the movie — setting aside preconceived notions — the more it seems firm in its absolute resolution toward embracing dumbness. You fear not the supernatural forces at work in the film but the fact that you maybe a stupider person by the time it’s over.” The Hindu


” …there’s no denying that Before I Wake is something truly special, a modern fairy tale that’s also something of a horror/drama hybrid that does something very rare, giving us a reason to want all these people to survive the horrific misdeeds of the Canker Man.” Daily Dead

Cast and characters:

  • Kate Bosworth as Jessie
  • Thomas Jane as Mark
  • Jacob Tremblay as Cody
  • Annabeth Gish as Natalie
  • Dash Mihok as Whelan
  • Scottie Thompson as Teacher

Filming locations:

Fairhope, Alabama

Film Facts:

The original title was Somnia.

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