Before I Wake is as much fantasy and drama as it is horror. Still, with director Mike Flanagan at the helm, it definitely does manage to deliver on horror. And now you’ll be able to watch it on Netflix!

Before I Wake has been a long time coming for most people. For others, it has been out for over a year. The reason for the long shelf-life has nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the financial difficulties of the US distributor.

And it really is such a shame. Both director Mike Flanagan and star Jacob Tremblay have been enjoying immense success while Before I Wake was just caught up in finance limbo.

Since making this movie in 2015, Mike Flanagan has had hit upon hit with movies like Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil. And out next should be the adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. Jacob Tremblay was riding a wave of success with his starring role in the Academy Award-nominated Room. He even managed to have another horror movie released before this one, when Shut In came out first.

In any case, Before I Wake is finally out and yes, it was worth the wait!

Broken hearts are at the center of Before I Wake

You really can’t help but feel sorry for Jacob Tremblay’s character, Cody, in Before I Wake. The poor little boy is heartbroken and scared. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, he is terrified of having nightmares. Obviously, that’s no way to avoid them, which is why he tries to avoid sleeping altogether.

When Cody sleeps, his dreams manifest themselves. That’s why he always tries to fill his mind with thoughts of butterflies.

Taking in Cody, are his new foster parents, who are dealing with the death of their own son. So, basically, there’s a whole lot of broken hearts and fortunately, a lot of love. Still, it’s the fear of loss that takes center stage whenever things go wrong.

Before I Wake review - Netflix movie by Mike Flanagan - Jacob Tremblay

Cody is played with absolute perfection by Jacob Tremblay. For anyone who’s experienced the young Tremblay in another role, this should come as no surprise. He is every bit as intense and honest in his portrayal as ever.

I don’t really like to compare these kids to one another, but I do find it hard not to mention Haley Joel Osment from The Sixth Sense. The characters themselves are even somewhat similar since they both know what’s going on and try their best to protect those around them. It really is heartbreaking… and damn scary for the poor kid.

Fantasy with elements of drama and horror

And since I’ve already gone down the road of comparisons, why not continue? While the stories are very different, I was actually reminded of Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth. There’s just something about the elements of fantasy being witnessed through the eyes of a child.

Since Before I Wake takes place in the present time and Pan’s Labyrinth did not, the comparison really isn’t that deep. I will say this though: If you liked one, you should enjoy the other!

Other than Jacob Tremblay, the two main characters in Before I Wake are played by Thomas Jane (The Mist) and Kate Bosworth (Straw Dogs). They portray Cody’s new foster parents, who recently lost their own biological son. Both Thomas Jane and Kate Bosworth do excellent jobs of being heartbroken and full of hope for the future.

Young Cody’s ability opens up new possibilities that especially Kate Bosworth’s character can’t really stop herself from exploiting. Something Thomas Jane’s character is against and so we have a bit of drama building up. Fortunately, it never takes away from Cody and his abilities being the main focus.  Even if it is a relevant and intriguing side story.

Mike Flanagan has done it yet again; Created a world by engaging feelings we can all relate to. Even if we haven’t experienced them directly. It’s almost a form of dark magic like we saw in Mike Flanagan’s Oculus from 2013. And once again, Flanagan wrote the script with screenwriter Jeff Howard. We’ll be seeing them work together with Gerald’s Game and yes, my expectations are already set very high.

Before I Wake will be available on Netflix from April 28, 2017. However, you may be lucky and have it already, since Netflix has released it earlier in some countries (i.e. Canada).


Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Cast: Thomas Jane, Kate Bosworth, Jacob Tremblay, Kyla Deaver, Annabeth Gish, Scottie Thompson, Dash Mihok,


A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps.

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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