Before I Wake tells the story of Mark and Jessie, a married couple still mourning the accidental death of their young son Sean. After losing Sean, the couple finds out that they can no longer have children so they decide to adopt. They end up adopting a boy named Cody who has a special gift: dreams manifest themselves in the real world and so do his nightmares. As you can imagine, a kid that has been bounced around between foster homes has plenty of nightmares.
Netflix will tell you that this is a new Netflix Original but it’s really not. The movie got a foreign release in 2016 but the US distributor went tits up and it never got released in the States. Until Netflix picked it up anyway and I am glad they did. The movie is written and directed by Mike Flanagan who was the man behind Oculus, Ouija: The Origin of Evil, and Gerald’s Game I enjoyed all of those movies and this is yet another winner from Flanagan.
The couple starts to suspect that something is amiss on the first night. Shortly after Cody goes to bed, the house is filled with beautiful butterflies that disappear into colored smoke for no apparent reason. All is revealed when Cody dreams about Sean. Jessie decides that she can use Cody’s gift to her advantage. She coaches him to dream about Sean and even shows him old home movies so that his dream can have the right voice. As you’d predict, this doesn’t go well for long. Shit gets pretty ugly for the happy family and a few other people.
Cody’s nightmares manifest in the form of the Canker Man: a tall, gaunt, eyeless motherfucker that eats people. Maybe eat is the wrong word. It kind of absorbs people. There’s no blood or gore, just surreal nightmarish fuckery. For example, when he takes his first victim in the movie he comes in as a swarm of moths, surrounds the victim, there’s some screams, and poof done.
I’m not going to give any big spoilers but I will say that this movie hits you with the ol’ okie-doke. Some shit goes down and Jessie has to get to the bottom of things to put her family back together. She commits a shit load of fraud and finds out the origin of the Canker Man and how to stop his people-eating ass. It’s at about this point that the movie comes in with a left hook out of nowhere and deals a heavy blow right to the fucking feelings. I missed a little bit of the ending because there was a bunch of pollen in the room and my eyes were watering and shit but it puts all the pieces together really well.
I would be hard pressed to find something to bitch about with this movie. If you’re in the mood for a movie than gives you the creeps then kicks your heart in the balls, I would recommend Before I Wake. This is yet another reason to not bitch about that extra dollar a month Netflix is charging.