The Wake: A Review
by Luce Allan
Penance leads to purgatory in The Wake (2017), in which a young man attends the wake of a child whose death was caused by his drunk driving, and is accompanied by the friends who were with him during the fatal accident. After sharing a drugged bottle of champagne, the group, along with the boy's grieving mother, find themselves trapped within the latter's house by a masked man who takes every measure possible to torture and kill them one by one.
Despite an intriguing start, The Wake is weighed down by its preoccupation with horror tropes. Much of the film involves the characters searching in the darkened house for the killer, whose appearance is relatively limited during the middle portion of the movie. The humor often clashes with the more serious tone of the film, and the characters frequently make poor choices when fighting for their survival. While there is an interesting side-twist near the end of the film that changes one's perspective of the film's angle, the main twist was not difficult to determine early on. The characterization itself felt a bit generic, although the performances by the actors were, on the whole, solid.
One commendable aspect of The Wake is its setting in a lavish home with an elegant interior that becomes chilling once the sinister action begins, and the contrast between the spilled blood and the pristine rooms and hallways provides a pleasing visual contradiction.
Though The Wake shows moments of promise, the film is ultimately diluted by genre platitudes.