AWAKE on Netflix is a sci-fi thriller starring Gina Rodriguez. It’s brilliant with its simple – but very relatable – premise. Also, I am a sucker for a runtime of around 90 minutes because it often means a tight story. I was certainly very entertained. Read our full Awake (2021) movie review here!

AWAKE is a new Netflix sci-fi thriller with a brilliantly simple plot; What if suddenly everyone on Earth lost the ability to sleep?! Everyone is awake all the time. Of course, those extremely few who still seem capable of falling asleep become dangerously valuable in the search for a cure.

The problem then becomes; Who can work on the cure with absolutely no sleep. In just a few days, the entire world is desperate and, quite literally, going completely mad. Most people can relate to being sleep deprived to some extent which makes this Netflix sci-fi thriller wonderfully relatable in the most awful of ways.

Continue reading our Awake (2021) movie review below and find it on Netflix.

We’re not built for staying awake

As someone who (usually) falls asleep easily, I can relate to how desperate I feel on a night when I struggle to fall asleep. Now, imagine everyone on Earth (almost!) is struggling with suddenly being awake non-stop. All while being desperately tired and quickly struggling with basic tasks and simple logic.

It’s an extremely dangerous situation. Also, the event that trickers this “constant awake”-state is accompanied by a complete shutdown of electronics. When it happens, so many accidents occur and everyone is focused on this. Right until the moment when they need to sleep.

Or actually, at the hospital, they discover the problem earlier on; The concept of being unconscious is now also non-existent. That means you can’t give people pain relief with anesthesia. Even coma patients wake up when this event happens. In other words, there are now two states of being; On or off. Or to be blunt: Awake or dead!

Awake [2021] – Netflix Review

The journey and ending of Awake just works

With a runtime of just 93 minutes, we follow the main protagonist from the beginning until the end. It’s both her journey and the journey of her family. This means lots of actors are shown in surprisingly small roles since we keep moving forward. The main character of Jill (Gina Rodriguez) would typically be played by a man, but works even better here as a woman.

Even the ending of Awake worked really well for me. It both makes sense and is an answer to everything. Sure, it might be a little heavy-handed, but I know many people want and need definitive answers from movies.

Overall, Gina Rodriguez works extremely well as Jill because the portrait of this woman is nuanced and honest. Also, her kids are played by the young and wonderful Ariana Greenblatt (Love and Monsters) as the girl who can still sleep. And Lucius Hoyos who plays her tough and angry, but still loving, teen son.


Our review of the Netflix sci-fi movie Love and Monsters that also has Ariana Greenblatt in a key role >

Another cast member I want to highlight is Shamier Anderson, who we recently saw in the Netflix movie Stowaway (read our review of it here). In Awake, Shamier Anderson plays a surprising character (in many ways) who has the advantage of only sleeping a few hours per night. This alone means he isn’t affected as quickly by the lack of sleep.

Watch Awake on Netflix now!

Mark Raso is the director of Awake with the screenplay written by both Joseph Raso and Mark Raso. The actual story is by Gregory Poirier who has worked on stories in all kinds of genres before. The filmmaker brothers previously also worked within various genres but they’ve definitely got a knack for focusing on relatable characters.

This is the third feature film from Marc Raso after debuting with Copenhagen in 2014 and following up with the Netflix movie Kodachrome in 2017. With Awake, Marc Raso has a true mainstream movie on his hands. One that could easily be compared with the Netflix megahit Bird Box. Like that particular movie, Awake also features many familiar faces.

Other actors in small roles in this Netflix sci-fi movie are Frances Fisher (Watchmen series), Barry Pepper (Crawl), Finn Jones (Iron Fist), and Gil Bellows (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark). Also in a key role, we see Jennifer Jason Leigh who co-starred with Gina Rodriguez in Alex Garland‘s Annihilation.

Be sure to check out Awake for a solid 93 minutes of entertainment. I just might watch it again!

Awake is out on Netflix from June 9, 2021.


After a global event wipes out humanity’s ability to sleep, a troubled ex-soldier fights to save her family as society and her mind spiral into chaos.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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