At First Glance: “Dead Awake”

What’s a horror fan to do with a random horror film? I seldom know, especially when it comes to obscure or independent horror films. Some, like those from the past few years, have been incredible! Others, just entertaining enough and in need of a bigger audience, or on some other level of bad altogether. Nothing could save those. It really is a tough call to make when deciding if you should get excited even a little.

The upcoming FilmRise film “Dead Awake” doesn’t truly look promising, but somewhere within this film, it could prove to be worth it. This idea is one of the great things about obscure independent horror. You never know what you’re truly going to get and could very well find yourself loving what’s been done. Does that mean the final film’s going to be a film you want to brag about having seen? No. In this case, probably not, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun in some small way. It’s pretty much how SyFy is still able to show bad sci-fi TV movies.

Concept vs Execution


The concept for this film, while coming off as obnoxious and obvious, is okay. It’s never going to be great, but it’s not really all that surprising. When you look back at all the other ways in which dreams and nightmares and sleep issues have been used in horror before now, it more comes as a surprise that a film like this hadn’t been done before.

Sleep paralysis. That’s the sleep phenomenon that’s being exploited, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll pay off in the way that producers and the writer and director are hoping for. That or I’m simply not reacting to the trailer in the way I was hoping to. When I first stumbled upon this trailer, courtesy of an article at, I was excited! Those who write for the website haven’t let me down before, why would they now? Well, as the saying goes, there’s a first time for everything.

I hated it. It’s not a bad trailer overall, which sounds confusing, but I’ll explain it as best I can. It’s really the bits of the film shown that make the trailer bad and not the editing. Yeah, I don’t think can make that any better or worse. That’s how bad this film already looks. I like films about supernatural entities or creatures, but this one, yeah, not yet. I can’t even pretend to throw my support behind this film. Again, the idea is fine, but when seeing it even in a trailer, it looks silly. Which brings me to the ultimate question, will this film somehow manage to be fun and worth it, even when at it’s silliest? It’s worked thus far for the Sharknado quadrilogy.

If this film can manage to somehow be fun, in any capacity, then I may come away loving it. All I need, which I don’t think is too high a bar, is for this film to be so bad it’s good. That’s it. If there are any potential scares, I don’t think they’ll be effectively executed. When watching the trailer, even once, I never felt afraid. Nothing. I actually almost laughed out loud at the ludicrous things I was hearing. That definitely didn’t help in my liking of this trailer and possibly says a lot about what this film will ultimately be like. Maybe I’m just trying too damn hard to convince myself this will be even slightly worth seeing. Perhaps I’ve already demonstrated why this film will be disliked by those few who do see it and forgotten within days of its release. I guess the only thing to do is wait.

Expected Release: May 12, 2017

Director: Phillip Guzman

Writer: Jeffrey Reddick

Starring: Jocelin Donahue, Jesse Bradford, Jesse Borrego, Brea Grant, James Eckhouse and Lori Petty


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