The Horror Honeys: Finally! Something I Don’t Hate!

Finally! Something I Don’t Hate!

The Awakening (2011) 

Dealing with a huge move, I have had a difficult time planning my next review, so I left this one in the hands of boyfriend. He and I don’t always agree on what’s “good” so I was taking this on faith. Last week I complained how most films made after 1995 aren’t worth shit. I stand by that statement: however, every once in a while, you find a gem in that pile of hoarded dirty diapers. This is one of them.
In 1921, England is dealing with the fallout from World War I. Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), a writer and professional ghost hunter, works with police to expose fraudulent supernatural phenomena. She is asked to investigate the sightings of a ghost boy at a boarding school by teacher, Robert Mallory (Dominic West). The school was once a private home and, legend has it, a boy was murdered there and now haunts it. A student has recently died and Robert wants to know if there is any connection with the spirit. Florence has no real interest in the investigation and a million theories before she even decides to take the case. She arrives at the school just before half-term and sets out to prove that the sightings are merely a prank played by one of the boys. She prepares to leave after “proving” there is no ghost, but when only she, Robert, the house mother, Maude (Imelda Staunton) and a lonely boy, Tom (Isaac Hempstead Wright), are left, her belief system and her life begin to unravel.

There isn't a Honey here who wouldn't trade places
with her in a flash.
The characters in The Awakening are all beautifully flawed. Florence is not your typical ‘20s girl. She’s a well-educated, pants wearing, published author who delves into her bizarre profession after the death of her lover in the war. A true cynic, she carries herself more like a man and resists vulnerability. She seems to hate most people and for the first third of the film, is dripping with sarcasm (she must be a Honey!). Robert, a veteran of the war, has his own ghosts to contend with, including a slight stammer and a bum leg. The chemistry between Hall and West is explosive from the first interaction. Their characters prey on each other’s weaknesses, while obviously attracted to one another. Their inevitable mating is pretty PG, but there are two separate bathtub scenes that will appeal to both the ladies and the gents! Wink, wink!
Maude and Tom round out the main characters and while I find Wright to be whiny as Brand on Game of Thrones, Tom is thoughtful and sad without being annoying. We all know how much I despise an annoying child, even in the movies. Tom’s immediate interest and affection for Florence is sweet and engaging. Maude is a fan of Florence’s book and does her best to assist her and also offer her council in a motherly manner.
I can’t be too specific or I will give the entire movie away. There is a twist, which unfolds slowly and, while it isn’t an earth shaker, it’s effective and creepy. The ending is open to interpretation, but I have my theory, which, of course, is the right one. 
Yes, we know. Dominic West is hot.
You can stop staring now!
If you’re looking for gore, you won’t find much here. There is little bloodshed, but you don’t really need blood in a ghost story, do you? Some of the creepiest stuff actually happens outside of the ghost hunting and what you don’t see.  It’s not a scare-fest, but it’s intense and well-written. It’s absolutely stunning to look at in that gloomy, foggy, muted colors way you want your British ghost stories to be. 
If The Devil's Backbone and The Others had a baby, this would be it. 
Supernatural Honey Rating: I give The Awakening 4 dead school boys out of 5.