Dark Awakening is a suspenseful thriller that horror fans will love. Directed by Emmy™ winner Dean C. Jones and starring iconic actor Lance Henriksen (Aliens, “Millennium”), the film centers around James Thomas (Jason Cook), a district attorney who has seemingly left his family ties behind him. Due to his mother’s untimely death, James moves his wife, Jennifer (Valerie Azlynn), and 7 year old son Danny (William Pifer) to the family’s rural estate in Cedar Rock Falls, North Carolina to tie up loose ends and sell his mother’s house. Shortly after arriving, Jennifer and Danny begin to experience strange paranormal occurrences involving the spirits of children. And to add to the peculiar nature, it seems that Danny is the only “living” child in town. Determined to understand what is happening, Jennifer seeks spiritual guidance from the parish priest and family friend, Father Donovan O’ Malley. The mystery deepens with Father O’ Malley. He is cognizant of the origins of the dead children, the reason for their resurrection and how and why it ties to her husband James, who holds the darkest secret of all.
“Dark Awakening” is an Indie horror that delivers the goods despite its low budget. I was prepared to talk about the story a bit here but the above synopsis covers it just fine and if I was to go into more plot details I would only ruin the film for those wanting and waiting to see it. So instead I will talk about the film a bit. For starters the haunting piano playing during the film’s opening credits gives you the feeling that the film will be a chilling experience and that is exactly what you get. So it really set the tone. Another thing you will notice right from the start is the film’s gloomy cinematography which creates the perfect atmosphere and mood right away.
The film wastes no time setting up the story and introducing the audience to the characters. It also does not waste any time getting to the paranormal activity that awaits . “Dark Awakening” is a horror film that has its secrets but it is content to keep them to itself until later in the story which helps build up a good amount of suspense and mystery which only thicken as it goes along. The film does not break any new ground as far as the story goes, we have all seen plenty of horror films like it before but ironically it is the story that I liked best about the film because it brings a lot of it’s own ideas and it does a great job of sucking you into the mystery as you wait to know more about the town and it’s missing children.
It does not use cgi effects but the make-up and practical effects work to perfection. I thought it was an old fashion horror film that delivered on tension and scares, it does not take long before it is in your head and under your skin. And last but not least let me talk about the cast, Jason Cook and Valerie Azlynn are terrific as James and Jennifer Thomas and I was really impressed with William Pifer who is amazing in his acting debut as their young son, Danny. And who does not love Lance Henriksen? He is excellent as Father Donovan O’Malley and he really adds some star power to the film. I must also mention Director/Co-writer, Dean C. Jones who did a fantastic job crafting this terrifying tale. I look forward to seeing what he does next.
“Dark Awakening” is in theaters now and it will expand on July 24, 2015. You can find out where it is playing and follow it’s progress by visiting the film’s Facebook page HERE.
Going off the trailer I was not sure what to expect but the film grabbed my attention right from the start and it just got better as it moved along. If you like a good horror film then I recommend checking out this smart, creepy and frightening film now. I cannot close this review without reminding everyone to stick around for a scene after the credits all over.