The Awakening: The Horrors Of A British Boarding School

Written by Luke Barnes


The film follows ghost hunter Florence Cathcart, played by Rebecca Hall, as she travels to an all-boys boarding school to investigate otherworldly goings on.

I think this is very much the quintessential British ghost story, and I mean that both as a compliment and also as a criticism. In many sense this delivers as you would want it to, there is a ghostly mystery and a few good scares, and a key element of the horror comes from the atmosphere and location. So far so good.

However, the issues become apparent when you have watched at least one other British ghost story horror film before as it becomes all very predictable quickly. Nothing that happens really catches you by surprise, the twist of the film I guessed early into the first act because it seemed so obvious. Perhaps this is a case of me watching too many horror films, as I both watch them for pleasure and also for an academic interest and as such I can see all the twists and turns coming but maybe also there is an element of weak writing here as well.

I think the two central performances from Dominic West and Rebecca Hall are both strong, I would say Hall is a the stronger of the two and her ghostly lost demeanour throughout the whole film only adds to the scare factor. I think the scene with Hall’s character down by the body of water where she looks as though she might throw herself in is truly haunting.

 Overall, a good creepy ghost story if one that is also a little on the obvious side.



The atmosphere

West and Hall

The scares


It is a little obvious

Pacing issues

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