Before I Wake ★★½

'Before I Wake' takes the mind-bending conceit of Ursula K. Le Guin’s 'The Lathe of Heaven' and compresses it into a ghoulish, small-bore psychological drama. Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane portray the Hobsons, grieving parents who take in a foster child in a questionable attempt to alleviate the loss of their son. Their new ward is Cody (Jacob Tremblay, pre-'Room'), a bright but troubled boy who, they discover, can manifest his dreams as physical reality. This power proves wondrous when the child’s mind conjures up incandescent butterflies, but less so when it unleashes his personal hobgoblin, the malevolent Canker Man. More of a blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and domestic drama than straight horror, Mike Flanagan’s film is clunkier and cheaper-looking than his other works, and the adult performances are markedly slack. However, the director’s treatment of the material is touching and commendably character-centered, while also providing space for Cody's abilities to elicit perverse urges and suggest disquieting implications.