The Awakening review – 2/5 stars

There is one thing that Brits can do good and that is suspenseful horror. Compared to chop shop of teen American horrors that are just innovative ways on how to kill or be killed, it’s good to watch a film and just jump from the tension.
The Awakening is the debut film of Nick Murphy, starring Rebecca Hall as skeptical and hardhearted Florence Cathcart, London post-War answer of the Ghostbusters.
When summoned to a boarding school by former soldier Dominic West to investigate a haunting, her nerves are shredded by what seemed to be an open-and-shut case.
For some, Cathcart is like Sherlock Holmes – methodical with only the satisfaction of resolving a case as payment. Her experience of fake exorcisms and séances make her dubious about the supernatural yet it only takes her curiosity to be peaked to take on one case. Hall’s expressions and performance is quite suited to the period in question, which is more that can be said for her co-stars.
The supporting cast are, in contrast to the many layers of Cathcart, almost template characters – you have the timid matron, the vulnerable child and the rugged handsome love interest with a secret. They all seem to revolve around Hall like the sun, looking as if they cannot hold their own whilst being on screen.
The haunting parts are quite chilling yet a couple of them are predictable jumps. It is beautifully shot and the scenery and the ambience of a large haunted house is wonderfully captured, but can this film be the upstart for the modern British horror?

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