Reviewed by Carlton Rolle
Dead Awake is a supernatural thriller movie directed by Phillip Guzman and written by Jeffery Riddick. The movie attempts to discover legends around sleep paralysis. Kate Bowman (Jocelin Donahue) is a social worker that ultimately fights for her life dealing with sleep paralysis via her twin Beth.
The movie starts with a surprise birthday party for Beth and Kate. While the sisters were celebrating, Linda (Brea Grant) at the party stops the music to shares a story about her husband having night terrors. While a little too convenient for the topic, Beth decides to share a bit of her story. For a couple months she has been having bad nightmares where she is sleep, but wakes up and cannot move. She mentions that she felt there was an evil presence that would choke her.
Others joke about it and Beth decides to leave the party. Eventually she talks to Kate about the situation. By this time, viewers see that Beth and Kate have an unpleasant history between the two of them. Beth seems to be the black sheep of the family and thus is not taken seriously. The only one that seems to believe her is her boyfriend, Evan (Jesse Bradford).
Beth attempts to have another conversation with her sister about her sleep paralysis. Still apprehensive, Kate decides to support Beth as she visits Dr. Sykes (Lori Petty). Dr. Sykes and Kate gives Beth logical explanations for her situation. The best advice they give is to not fight and work it out.
Nights following the doctor’s visit, Beth experienced sleep paralysis and the evil spirit again. This time, she didn’t fight back as much while she was being choked to death. In Beth’s last breaths, Kate was connected to her and knew something was wrong. She calls the family phone to have her dad check on Beth. When he checks her and realizes she is dead, Kate finally begins to see there is more to the story.
Kate decides to investigate who Beth was talking to leading up to her death. Kate also connects with Evan and Linda. Linda admits that she is seeing Dr. Sykes as well for sleep paralysis. During the months of dealing with nightmares, Beth also saw an alternative doctor, Hassan (Jesse Borrego), as well.
Kate chases behind the few leads that she has with doctors and friends to try and get to the bottom of the situation. As the movie goes on, they find that anyone that believes in the evil spirit is susceptible to being attacked by it. This becomes the case for Linda and Evan as they further get caught in the evil web.
The overall story of the movie was interesting and solid most of the way through. Once viewers were able to see the evil spirit, it looked like the evil girl from The Ring. While there were a few parts that I held my breath with the actors, for most of the movie, I could guess what was going to happen. While the story of Kate and Beth were finished, the story of the evil spirit wasn’t. Dead Awake left enough open in the movie, that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a part 2 to the movie.
Dead Awake makes sleep paralysis even more scary to think about it and that much more terrifying with a ghost haunting. While left knowing the evil spirit is still around and upset, I recommend watching Dead Awake with a cup of coffee next to you.