It seems that horror films cannot resist tossing in some graphic scenes just to gross out audiences as a cheap scare tactic, but The Awakening is a cut above the rest and refrains from this immaturity. In fact, the entire film has an old fashioned feel to it making it a genuinely creepy film from the start to the end.
The film is set in 1921 in an England that is still recovering from WWI and is focused around an author played by Rebecca Hall who is invited to visit a boarding school in the country by a headmaster that is played by Dominic West. The headmaster is looking for information after rumours start circulating that the school may be haunted.
However, just when Hall thinks that she has proved there are not any ghosts, she has an encounter that makes her start to have second thoughts about her previous stance. Director Nick Murphy does an excellent job of making the audience rethink their rational thoughts and the hairs on your body will be standing straight up by the time it is finished. This is due to the fact that instead of using gore the setting of the film does the work, as it should be.
The cast performs extremely well, in particular Rebecca Hall who offers an emotional performance as she watches her beliefs turn around. Hall and West have excellent chemistry as they hide what they are discovering from others and turn to each other for comfort. Imelda Staunton also gives a stellar performance that proves to be just as creepy as the overall film.
If there is one flaw with this film it would be the ending that had some people in an uproar, but overall the reveal actually was surprising and works out quite well. Overall, for those who want a truly thrilling film The Awakening is a great choice.