Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Awakening

"The Awakening" (2011) starring  , , is an exceptional new ghost story that was just released on DVD and blu-ray.

The year is 1921 in England and the entire country is still in shock because of the terrible losses they faced during World War I.  Florence Cathcart (Hall) is an anomaly for the time - an educated woman.  She tries to uncover fake spiritualists and discover what's really behind ghost sightings.  She uses the most up to date scientific methods and doesn't believe in ghosts - she believes there is a rational explanation or human being behind every so called ghost.  Florence is also a very troubled woman as she is grieving for the loss of her boyfriend who died in the war. 

Robert Mallory (West) is a teacher at a boy's boarding school in the country and he seeks her help because everyone believes there is a ghost of a little boy roaming the school and scaring the students.  Florence takes the case and is off to the school to investigate. 

The school is a giant old mansion that used to be a family's home.  The boys are taken care of by a Matron named Maud Hill (Staunton) who idolizes Florence and keeps her book right next to her bible.  Florence meets the students and when they leave for break, there is only Robert, Maud, Florence and one student left at the school.

Florence wanders through the mostly empty school and her equipment and her eyes pick up glimpses of the ghost.  Will this ghost turn Florence into a believer or will she find the person who is behind the haunting? 

This movie is a visual delight to watch.  The setting in and around the school is so beautiful during the day and eerie at night. The acting is very well done and the characters have many layers that we discover throughout the film.  The film also has some good old fashioned scares.  This movie builds the scares through what is imagined and also what is glimpsed out of the corner of your eyes.  This is one of the most atmospheric horror movies in years. It is an excellent addition to any horror library and one that I will watch over and over. 

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