The Awakening [Blu-ray]
Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), author of the popular book "Seeing Through Ghosts," has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiancé, she is approached by Robert Mallory (Dominic West) to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy's ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her. -- (C) Cohen Media Group
The Awakening's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer has the distinct look of a BBC digital video production despite being shot in 35mm, which wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the noise that permeates the image. At times, it has the appearance of filmic grain. More often, though, it behaves erratically and to the detriment of fine detail. That said, it isn't a serious problem, and only distracts on occasion. Otherwise, all is as it should be. Almost every color, skin tone and primary has been drained within an inch of life, yes, but the subsequent palette suits the tone and atmosphere of the film perfectly. Contrast is consistent and black levels are appropriately dusty and gloomy too. Edge definition is clean and satisfying on the whole, while fine textures and close-ups are both refined and revealing.
If The Awakening were being judged strictly on the effectiveness of its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, it would be one of the best-haunted house films in years. The creaking and groaning of the school floorboards, the pitter patter of ghostly feet, the ringing of distant bells, the muffled howling of outside winds, the shuffling of a ghastly spirit and the voices bleeding through the walls. Rear speaker activity is just as delightfully and frightfully passive-aggressive as a good horror should be. LFE output is just as sinister, lulling listeners into a trance before shocking them out of their seats with terrifying power and presence. All the while, dialogue is clear, intelligible; the quietest whisper and the most startling scream subject to the same carefully, wait, masterfully prioritized rules of engagement. The Awakening may not be a perfect horror movie, but its lossless track provides a perfect horror mix.
This movie differs from what people perceive as a typical scary/horror movie. It's not focused on the horror or the scare; it's focused on the story of Florence Cathcart and her drive to prove that spirits are not real. It is a really good movie, with an interesting story; great acting and a great big twist at the end. The ending was just superb. The twist, when it is revealed, really will make you go 'wait, what?' and I think the movie is worth watching just for the twist. I will say this, don’t watch this movie if you're wanting a scary/horror movie. Go watch it for the fantastic storyline and superb acting by all involved.
Posted by Ryan Gibbs, February 20, 2013 7:08 AM