DEAD AWAKE (2016 ) Reviews and overview

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Dead Awake is a 2016 American horror film directed by Phillip Guzman (200 Hours) from a screenplay by Jeffrey Reddick (Final Destination; Final Destination 2). It stars Jocelin Donahue, Jesse Bradford, Lori Petty, and Brea Grant.


A young woman must save herself and her friends from an ancient evil that stalks its victims through the real-life phenomenon of sleep paralysis…


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“There’s a fine line between paying tribute to your horror heroes and the terrifying tales of the past – and an audience asking the question “why?” Dead Awake walks that tight-rope, borrowing heavily from Craven’s signature film [A Nightmare on Elm Street] while also branching out on its own with humor and its own set of unique rules.” Horrorfreak News

“Sleep paralysis can be used to creepy effect, but not here. It robs the characters of any fight when the demonic entity known as “The Hag” comes crawling up in their faces. Reddick and director Guzman manage to make the sequence quite creepy the first few times it happens, but it becomes quite clear that’s the only trick up their sleeves.” UK Horror Scene

“The film substitutes the lack of special effects with good acting, visually appealing cinematography and good direction thanks to Phillip Guzman, which is all a vital part of the movie’s success […] the movie feels a little long and it can stand to benefit minus a few select scenes.” Atomic Age Renegades


“The authentic performances, suspense, eerie atmosphere, sleek production, detailed screenplay, sets, editing, cinematography, special effects and directing was all marvelous. Dead Awake actors gave us top-notch performances.” Hell Horror

“Not even Jocelin Donahue, who is legitimately great here (when isn’t she?) can turn this one around. Despite how good of a concept it may be, if Dead Awake tells us anything, it’s that maybe we should put sleep paralysis to rest.” Ryan C., The Missing Reel

Main cast:

  • Jocelin Donahue – House of the Devil
  • Brea Grant – The Devil’s Dolls; Beyond the Gates; Halloween II
  • Jeffrey Reddick
  • Jesse Bradford
  • Lori Petty
  • Natalie Jones
  • James Eckhouse
  • Billy Blair – Cherokee CreekThe Possessed; Body Harvest; The Harrowing
  • Richard Lukens
  • Jesse Borrego
  • Liz Mikel
  • Chelsea Morgensen
  • A.J. Gutierrez
  • LeeLee Wellberg
  • Mona Lee Fultz

Filming locations:

San Antonio, Texas


The film premiered at Shriekfest 2016 on October 6, 2016. FilmRise was released in the US in theaters and VOD on May 12, 2017.

In the UK, Matchbox Films released the film on DVD on 15 May 2017.

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