I remember an old episode of Tales from the Crypt in which a mortician finds out that even in death we still feel the pain of the embalming. It freaked me the fuck out. Then there’s the Stephen King story Autopsy Room 4 from Nightmares and Dreamscapes in which a man who is bit by a poisonous snake is mistakenly thought dead and autopsied. Terrifying.
Now to add to my list of nightmares is the premise of Awake a movie about a young heart transplant patient remaining in a state of anesthetic awareness during his heart surgery in which his senses continue to function but he remains paralyzed and unable to communicate his state. Again, terrifying. That’s not the killer part though, the best part is that he overhears the doctors doing his procedure conspiring to kill him and collect on his inheritance.
If the movie had taken that premise and run with it, I think it could have been one of the most suspenseful movies in years.
And here come the big spoilers.
First off, Awake sucked and the reasons it sucked are simple. It is devoid of suspense.
Just when things seem to be heading in an interesting direction, when the main character’s marriage and replacement heart arrive within minutes of one another, it drops the ball and kicks your grandmother in the nuts.
Where as a good movie would have let the anesthetic awareness be a plot point to build paranoia and suspense around, Awake decides to stick with it up until the finale. The revelations and conspiratorial whisperings turn out to be exactly what they are, and the first time writer AND director (who must be related to someone at the studio) offers up lame family drama in lieu of an ending.
I hate to be an armchair director and or writer but there is no reason they shouldn’t have had Hayden Christensen’s character come out of the first surgery believing that his doctors and new wife had conspired to kill him by rigging his transplanted heart. That would have been so excellent!
Instead things are rather um… sedate.
I can only reocommend this movie if you like Jessica Alba. She’s a wonder to behold and I think her sweetness works, because secretly we all want to think the worst of sweet people. Someone needs to summon Chris Crocker to defend Alba’s acting. Let’s be clear. She’s not a bad actress.
But this is a bad movie.