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Dead Awake – movie review
Imagine if The Sixth Sense were a love story, but take away all the thrills and stylistic choices that made it a good film, then make it unnecessarily confusing. The result would be Dead Awake.
Dead Awake was unnecessarily grainy. It didn’t add anything and made the whole thing feel like watching a really old VHS. The story also made no sense. Elements weren’t properly explained, and when some things were explained, it didn’t have much pay off. The story was told with bits and pieces out of place for no rhyme or reason, and there were areas where it was impossible to tell if it was a dream or a memory. At the end, there was an out-of-nowhere emotional outburst that made the movie even more awkward. Plus, there was a reveal that someone in the movie can see dead people – not said with those exact words, but it was pretty lame. It felt more like a straight-to-DVD movie than a theatrical release.
However, there were some interesting effects in the movie. There are various POV shots from the point of view of Charlie, a drug addict who likes going to funerals for therapy. They go in and out of focus, and it’s jarring, and it gives us a glimpse into Charlie’s messed up world. There was one shot where the main character Dylan was walking in a hospital with his friend Decko, and we see the whole thing in the reflected in a fish eye lens being used as a prop, and for some reason, fish eye lenses are just cool.
Dylan is the main character in Dead Awake. He’s supposed to be solving a mystery for the entire film, but there are places where I forget that’s what he’s even doing. At one point, he bets his friend that nobody would come to his funeral and so he fakes being dead. It’s important in that’s how he meets Charlie, but at that point I still couldn’t figure out what the movie was about. He was portrayed by Nick Stahl, who was a very convincing creepy person. However, I never felt convinced that he actually did love his love interest, Natalie, and when he displayed other emotions, they just seemed awkward.
Rose McGowan played Charlie, the drug addict who is convinced that Dylan is her guardian angel. She’s obsessed with death and Bible verses, and she’s convinced that Dylan is dead but he just doesn’t know it. Charlie is an okay character. She knows that she’s not perfect, and she does really want to do right. She’s convinced that Dylan can save her. Rose McGowan gave a fairly decent performance.
Dylan’s love interest, Natalie, was portrayed by Amy Smart. Amy Smart has never let me down, and she gave a very convincing performance. It’s just a shame that it was a convincing performance in a movie that otherwise made no sense. Natalie and Dylan had been a high school couple, but tragedy struck and she ended up with his best friend. The funeral of a former classmate reunites them and reignites the spark. Natalie spends the movie trying to decide if she’s really in love with Dylan’s best friend, who she’s still with, or Dylan himself. Amy Smart pulled it off, because I never for a second questioned anything Natalie was going through.
Overall, Dead Awake was the type of movie that one might watch late night on cable if nothing else is on. It’s pretty bad, but it might be fun to laugh over. However, it’s not really worth the price of the movie ticket because of how confusing and stylistically awkward it is.