Review: BEFORE I WAKE (2016)

Canadian Cinephile

Mike Flanagan continues to strand his interest in family horror with BEFORE I WAKE, a picture that has some good ideas but labours under cumbersome execution. The screenplay is by Flanagan and Jeff Howard, who collaborated on 2016’s OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL and 2013’s OCULUS. As with those pictures, BEFORE I WAKE contends with a family thrust in the midst of loss. But unlike those pictures, care and caution appears absent in BEFORE I WAKE. The end result is something more akin to superhero origin story than horror fable, which may or may not be the point.

The story concerns Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane) as they adopt eight-year-old Cody (Jacob Tremblay) after the death of their son Shawn. Because this is a movie, something’s up with the adopted child. In this instance, his dreams become reality. Jessie uses Cody to relive her memories of Shawn, but there’s…

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