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Before I Wake

  • USA
  • 2016
  • 97 mins
  • DCP
  • English
Special Screening
Hosted by Director Mike Flanagan


From the moment that Jessie (SUPERMAN RETURNS’ Kate Bosworth) and Mark (THE MIST’s Thomas Jane) adopt eight-year-old Cody (ROOM’s Jacob Tremblay), they realize that something’s not quite right with the mostly happy child. What they don’t know is that he’s been doing everything possible to prevent himself from falling asleep. You see, Cody is simultaneously blessed and cursed with a supernatural gift that allows for his dreams to become physical in reality while he sleeps. At first, Jessie and Mark feel as if they’re participating in a miracle when they experience his subconscious imaginings draped across their home. They soon realize the terrible downside to the situation, and the reason why Cody can’t bear to be asleep around those he loves. His nightmares manifest every bit as physically in reality as his dreams.

Fantasia was among the first festivals to introduce the world to the unique universe of Mike Flanagan (OCCULUS, HUSH) with our 2011 screening of the filmmaker’s instant-classic independent debut ABSENTIA. Now, six years and two features later, Flanagan has become an internationally renowned horror luminary who consistently marries provocative, personal themes and thoughtful writing with tight control of atmosphere and mood. BEFORE I WAKE continues the filmmaker’s exploration of grief through the prism of genre, playing like an empathetic Wes Craven film with a heightened sense of poetic fantasy that stands on equal footing with its more starkly nightmarish components. And do things ever get nightmarish. An eerie and tragic film, BEFORE I WAKE will take you beyond the realm of dreams, into a darker, yet light-filled place.

— Mitch Davis

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