The Awakening: British horror, no comedy
I'm so glad that there's a horror film set to come out of British cinema that isn't a comedy. It's been a while since Britain has managed to deliver a strong horror when at one time we were undoubtedly the leaders, and so I'm hopeful that this could mark a return to strong horror films attracting the bigger budget and cast and being seen abroad.
Oh I know there's a smaller festival circuit and British films can do well there, but breaking through seems to be the difficulty here, and perhaps The Awakening is set to do that with the news of its cast and original story.
The Awakening is set to star Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton. Now that cast list already tells you that it's a cut above and that it could well be picked up. What about the story and the film then?
Well according to the Screen Daily story through Empire, the supernatural thriller is set in England just after World War I, 1921 to be exact, and it follows a woman who travels to a countryside boarding school to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting.
She thinks she has managed to debunk the story of the ghost, but then she has an encounter with a spectre that challenges all her rational beliefs.
That story sounds quite interesting, and seems to have a resonance with some other films, both British and French, to return to that time period, and to return to the supernatural horror theme that served British cinema so well back when.
Nick Murphy is set to make his directorial début on the film which he co-wrote with Stephen Volk. Murphy previously wrote, produced and directed television shows from Surviving Disaster to Primeval and Occupation. Volk has been a writer on many a television and lower budget film, although the films he's written have attracted some big British actors.
It sounds like a good pairing, and here we're going to see a strong cast lining up. I just hope it doesn't become another film to sit in the same bracket as the films that Volk has previously written and seen adapted – some big British names, but lower productions that don't see a stronger cinematic release.
The other suggestion that this might be something different is the story behind the deal, it's the third UK production from Optimum since it was bought over by StudioCanal, the other two being the Rowan Joffe remake of Brighton Rock and the Joe Cornish film Attack The Block.
I'm hopeful for The Awakening, which promises to return to the strength of British horror, and not a joke in sight.