Jake, a real estate agent, works hard to provide for his wife and son, despite a seemingly rather distant relationship to them. Stressed and overwhelmed by the huge stack of work he receives one day, he decides to drive to a cabin in the woods, thus hoping to get out of his office routine for a couple of days, relax his mind and get some work done. He tries some meditation and self- suggestion techniques prescribed by his psychiatrist, but his attempts leads to envisioning a series of disturbing events. This raises questions about the origin of these visions: do they come from his own subconscious, as a result of his doctor advising him to take control, or are they originating from a more sinister, outside force that prays on his strained psyche?
Rolf Lindblom hits a number of highs with ‘Awakening’. The cinematography is fantastic, contrasting beautiful and serene sequences of nature with the dark and disturbing imagery which Jake envisions during his sessions. The music utilized throughout the film is likewise superb, fitting the unfolding events like a glove and combining to create an eerie atmosphere, with tension accumulating all the way through to the very last scenes and the open finale of the film, with a runtime of just under 10 minutes. The soundtrack is expertly dosed, and when it is absent, it is replaced with nature ambient sounds, to great success. Likewise, the director makes use of some very good filming and editing techniques in the trance sections, which become genuinely frightening.
The manner in which dialogues are handled are an interesting proposition. Jake texts with his wife and doctor respectively are the only form of communication we witness. He does hold conversations, first with his boss, then on the phone with his wife, but we do not hear these, as the voice is obscured, first by music and secondly by ambient effects. Moreover, in both instances, the camera ‘spies’ on Jake having these conversations through windows. As a result, viewers find very little of his personality to cling to, which is a superb trick that makes one question Jake’s train of thought and intentions even more, especially after the climax point of the story is reached.
With solid visuals, great use of sound and music, and an engaging, methodically developed idea behind the film, ‘Awakening’ is a major success, and viewers are left with a sense of unease that might stay with them for quite a while after having watched the movie