Before I Wake, Treks into Human Psychosis 

Before I Wake Film Details 

Director: Mike Flanagan Mike Flanagan Jeff Howard "Before I Wake"

Writer (s):

Mike Flanagan

Jeff Howard

Release Date: 9 September 2016 (USA)

Release Format: Cinemas 

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Horror Sub-Genre: Supernatural


A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.

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“Before I wake” centers on Jesse and Mark (portrayed by Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane respectively).  A married couple that after the tragic death of their son decide Mike Flanagan Jeff Howard "Before I Wake"to adopt. Everything seems to be going well for the young couple with the new addition to their family. Yet, inexplicable happenings begin to occur during the late evening hours. These centered on the young orphan, Cody (portrayed by Jacob Tremblay). Cody is a reserved, polished young boy with a serious crisis with insomnia. Should the young boy fall asleep he has the gift/curse to projects his dreams in the conscious world. Once discovered, Jesse takes it upon herself to exploit the child’s gift for her own will. It becomes more of an obsession than a healing process when Jesse induces Cody to sleep. By doing so Jesse is able to interact with the projection of her deceased son. Unbeknownst to Jesse are the nightmares that will also manifest from Cody’s imagination.

“Before I wake” features references associated with trauma based program (monarch programming). The term refers to clandestine mind
control which many have expressed claim exist today. Whether if you believe in this or not is a topic for another time.  Alters, stasis of consciousness, and monarch butterfly serve as the backbone for the film. With this in mind, one can better assess the foundation of  the narrative. Co-writers Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard offer an unorthodox approach to psychological Horror, Thriller. The underlying message of the film is a fragmentation of the one’s self. A trauma caused either by sorrow and fear.

Pros: Mike Flanagan Jeff Howard "Before I Wake"
Thomas Jane stars in Relativity Media’s “Before I Wake”. Photo: Courtesy of Relativity Media
Copyright: © 2014 QNO, LLC

PG-13 Horror, Thrillers is something this reporter detests. Often times with the PG-13 rating comes filtered narratives. Substandard production, horrid CGI, and poor acting are also associated with PG-13 Horror. As with most films branded with this MPAA rating, expected was the worst. Personal bias had set itself aside after the opening frame to “Before I wake”. Interest soon developed. It became evident “Before I wake” would be the rare occurrence. Finally, a PG-13 Horror, Thriller with solid production and something worth viewing. What creates a solid production? Originality, genre-defining, and a great story narrative is the reply to that question. That’s exactly what co-writers Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard accomplished with “Before I Wake”.

Impressive is the acting. The emphasis is with the portrayal offered by the child actor, Jacob Tremblay. Tremblay made the character Cody come to life on screen and that in itself is an accomplishment. Cody’s backstory is tragic. Orphaned after the passing of his mother, Cody  never settles in one foster home. Paranormal circumstances hinder his way of life.

Acclaim also goes to Kate Bosworth’s portrayal of Jesse. Within Act I, Jesse copes with the death of her sonAs the story progresses into Act II Jesse becomes an unintentional villainess. Of course, her actions centers on her mourning. Act III, finds Bosworth shifting gears. Jesse becomes a woman obsessed with saving Cody from the clutches of his torment. Tomas Jane does what he does best and that is to dominate scenes and lines given.

A sense of realism finds its way in the Visual effects. The special effects team did great work on the film. Audiences will not be subject to subpar CGI renders. “Before I wake” features a creation of nightmarish proportions. Unlike most Horror films that offer creatures for cheap jump scares. The entity presented in “Before I wake” is a based on a distortion, a forgotten love.


For the astute viewer, “Before I wake” is not a difficult film to decipher. Yet, the writers felt the need to offer an explanation of events. This occurs within the closing minutes of the film. This contribution to the narrative is not needed. It gives the impression that the audience is not smart enough to piece the mystery together. If any explanation were to offered it should have made its presence within the conflict of Act III.

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Rating Score:  0-10 Avoid | 11-20 Mediocre | 21-30 Good | 31-40  Average | 41-50 Satisfactory | 51-60 Stunning | 61-70 Terrific | 71-80 Must See | 81-90 Amazing | 91-100 Impressive[/box]


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