Macabre…ish Horror Review: Dead Awake



Dead Awake, 2016/ 1 hr 39 min


A woman, Beth (Jocelyn Donahue), is struggling with the move back home and her sleep paralysis is bad again. In fact, she’s not the only one in town struggling with it. At her and her estranged sister’s birthday party, talk about it, abruptly brings the party to an end. So she returns to her childhood home for another night of sleep paralysis.


Later she talks to her sister, Kate (Jocelyn Donahue), about it and as usual, she’s not taken seriously. So they go to a therapist, Dr. Sykes (Lori Petty) for answers and the symptoms are terrifying. It makes sense but it’s still hard to accept that it’s harmless.


So that night, her sister Kate, experiences sleep paralysis and she doesn’t fight it, she just lets the terror wash over her but what she experiences is someone trying to kill her. She jumps up as soon as she’s able and calls her parents and tells them to check on Beth. Dad does and Beth is dead.


Beth’s sleep disorder specialist, a supposed quack, Hassan (Jesse Borrego), meets Kate at the funeral, he thinks he knows what happened but Kate can’t deal with that yet. But she does eventually will when looking for answers. Hassan lost his license but he has been tracking people who have died and also had sleep paralysis. They all reported someone sitting on them, strangling them. Just like Kate’s last episode.


So she pours over Beth’s journals, hoping to find something but all she gets herself is more sleep paralysis, this time, she was wide awake in her bath. The water turns black as she slips below the surface. She’s able to move before she drowns.


Kate reconnects with Evan (Jesse Bradford), Beth’s artist boyfriend of two years, to talk and research what Hassan said about sleep paralysis and the Old Hag (Natalie Jones). That night Evan dreams of her, she stuffs her fist in his mouth, yanks out one of his teeth and then strangles him. But he wakes up quickly and gets to work painting her.


Kate then confronts Dr. Sykes with the information with another sufferer and patient of hers, Linda (Brea Grant). But she’s no help. After seeing Evan’s paintings, he and Kate set up an appointment with Hassan. But in the mean time their research finds the vlog of John Pang (Billy Blair), discussing his struggles with sleep paralysis, you can tell he doesn’t think he’ll survive it. Meanwhile, that same night, Linda doesn’t. She dies right in front of her husband with the hag on her chest.


Finally, there is no one to turn to but Hassan, his unorthodox ways may be the only way to survive. As for John Pang, he survives by refusing to sleep, it’s been a year, his nurse says he doesn’t have long to live because of it.


This is a supernatural horror, with a very good monster, good cast and good monster effects. This is not bloody or gory but there are plenty of jump scares. This is paced well but the movie is eerie and sad and the ending is bleak.