The plots of this and The Mothman Prophecies could be combined for a truly horrifying movie.
Before I Wake is a recent Netflix original release that follows a young boy played by Jacob Tremblay whose dreams (and nightmares) come true while he sleeps. His new foster parents (Kate Bosworth and Patrick Jane) must figure out the best way to deal with that, in addition to dealing with their own demons.
This movie has a really good, original concept. The idea of someone’s nightmares actually coming into reality has some terrifying potential. Unfortunately, the movie never quite capitalizes on this. That isn’t to say the movie isn’t without its merits. All the performances are solid and Jacob Tremblay is easily one of the best child actors working today. There are a couple good scares in the movie and the story is interesting to explore. It is a quick hour and a half long, so you don’t waste a whole lot of time with it and is worth watching on a lazy afternoon.
The biggest issue with the movie is it can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a straight up horror movie, or more of a mystery/thriller. The movie would work a lot better if it chose one or the other. It could double down on the scares, or have a really interesting mystery element to explore. As is, the movie isn’t very scary and doesn’t go down the mystery path quite enough, making it a little boring. The biggest problem with the horror side of the movie is that it is a lot more show than tell. It shows us right from the beginning what we are supposed to be scared of, rather than leaving it to our imaginations, which is one of the biggest problems of a lot of horror movies today. Besides not being able to decide what it is, the movie also feels a little cheap. The special affects aren’t great and the scope of the movie feels really small. I also think the ending isn’t fleshed out enough and some of it feels like it’s a bit of a cop out.
While not great, the movie isn’t bad either. The fact that it is free on Netflix and is very short helps it out a lot. It has an interesting concept and is worth a watch for any horror fan who is trying to decide what to watch one evening. I’ll give Before I Wake a 3/5.