In the horror movie world, and as it seems to be in Hollywood in general, originality seems to be in short supply. With so many adaptations, remakes, and sequels slated for 2015, it’s easy to watch a slew of movie trailers and sigh with fatigue at the seemingly endless repetition. Horror movies are especially notorious for this, with reboots of POLTERGEIST and STEPHEN KING’S IT currently on the horizon, along with multiple sequels and “new chapters” coming up like INSIDIOUS 3, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5, SINISTER 2, HALLOWEEN and FRIDAY THE 13th (yes, apparently it IS impossible to kill Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, because these franchises just won’t die), it doesn’t seem like that pattern is going to change anytime soon. That’s one of the reasons that the BEFORE I WAKE trailer has caught my attention.
The trailer is set up in familiar scary movie territory: a couple that seems to be moving on after the death of their own child is now preparing to welcome a mysterious foster child into their home. Strange supernatural occurrences begin to happen after the child arrives, and the couple needs to go on a search for the truth behind these incidents and find out how to stop them before it’s too late. We’ve seen this basic set up before, and we know that usually the kid turns out to be evil, or is being followed by a supernatural entity of some sort, so what’s so special about this trailer? Well, based on the trailer, I think this movie has the potential to be the new A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. When I say that, I don’t mean that I think it’s going to become a new hilariously campy franchise centered around a man in a fedora, but rather that it has the potential to evoke the same kind of visceral fear that the first A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET captured. In what appears to be an inverse of the NIGHTMARE franchise, the young boy Cody seems to have the ability to somehow conjure what he’s dreaming into reality, only for it to disappear once he wakes. Instead of Freddy Krueger waiting to terrorize the poor kid when he falls asleep, it’s the dreams themselves that manifest to attack him and the people around him. As a big fan of the NIGHTMARE series, I’ve always been fascinated by what films can do to visually represent the surreal world of a dream, especially when it comes to nightmares. So what we have coming to theaters is an original horror movie dealing with the dreams and nightmares of a young boy manifesting in the real world until they take on a life of their own to wreak terror on those nearby? Movie, I have six words for you: shut up and take my money!
What worries me is that I’ve seen many recent horror movies with great concepts that simply haven’t lived up to their potential. One need only look to the recent film THE LAZARUS EFFECT to see an example of a film that doesn’t live up to its premise. Even some of the imagery used in this trailer is a little underwhelming, given what could be done with the film. Personally, I don’t find the child in scary makeup to be all that frightening; it’s shots like that, along with a PG-13 rating that make me wonder if I shouldn’t just wait for this film to hit Netflix instead of rushing out to catch it on the big screen. However, I’m going to choose to remain optimistic because the idea is so intriguing, and personally I find that image of that shadowy figure with glowing eyes to be genuinely creepy and cool. Still, only time will tell if this will be a memorable fright fest or just another clichéd mess to bore you to sleep. In the meantime, sweet dreams, everyone!
BEFORE I WAKE stars Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, and Annabeth Gish. It is set to be released on May 8th, 2015. Check out the new trailer below!
~ Megan Salinas
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