The Awakening leaves Mr Loony wanting more

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 14, 2012 07:24 hrs

TV has long since fried his brain. Mr Loony now lives in a basement, spending his waking hours watching films and talking about them. To his imaginary friends. Hmm.

A Feature Presentation

"Alas, Miss Cathcart, you could have been so much more," I lamented, after watching this film.

Produced by BBC Films and released in 2011, The Awakening is one of those quaint little horror films that go under the radar ever so often. Once discovered and watched, it turns out to be a film that positively revels in its setting and features a character whose anachronistic skills make her so fascinating.

Florence Cathcart is that remarkable woman and the film begins with her entering a seance under false pretenses only to expose the conference call with the other side as an elaborate charade. For Miss Cathcart is a paranormal investigator, a profession not so frequently taken up by women (or even men perhaps) in Edwardian England.

Quite like the intrepid Frenchwoman Adele Blanc-Sec in Luc Besson's recent film The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, who is a travel writer and investigative journalist, involved in supernatural mysteries involving reanimated mummies and flying pterosaurs, Florence Cathcart is also an oddity of that time period: an educated, independent woman fighting creatures that belong in the fringes of, or beyond, the laws of nature.

When our ghost hunter extraordinaire is called upon by the history teacher of a boy's school to investigate otherworldly occurrences on the premises, the film takes a frustrating turn into predictable territory.

The film does manage to work as a half-decent horror flick despite this unfortunate change in plot direction, but it rankles nonetheless.

As in most English films with a period setting, the detailing of the era is impressive. Horror films set in earlier time periods use the atmosphere and prevailing social and cultural conditions to their advantage and The Awakening is no exception. It maybe a flawed film overall, but the characterization (earlier on in the film) and the setting make this a horror film worth watching.

Watch the trailer:

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