Joe Scaramanga’s review:
Good, old-fashioned ghost story written by Stephen Volk.
In post-WW1 England, a supernatural debunker is sent to a boarding school to investigate the death of a pupil who was supposedly scared to death by a twisted faced ghost.
A welcome respite from the endless noise and CGI scare-fests from the States, THE AWAKENING has a tone more like the old BBC Christmas ghost stories, or the excellent TV adaptation of WOMAN IN BLACK.
Sadly, this is really its downfall too. The small scale (in setting, scope and cast) leaves it feeling more like a TV special, despite an audacious, rug-pulling third act, which is satisfying without being entitrely successful.
Rebecca Hall is fine as the skeptic, and Imelda Staunton is her usual assured self as the school matron. Dominic West comes off less well, seemingly lost in an under-written part which requires him to look puzzled for more of the time.
An entertaining alternative to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 16, it should please those looking for moody chills rather than jump-out-of-your-seat scares.