The first ten minutes of the British horror film The Awakening have been made available online and the clip (above) does a good job of establishing the film's intriguing (and unnerving) premise.
The movie, which stars Rebecca Hall (the upcoming Iron Man 3) and Dominic West (The Wire), focuses on Florence Cathcart (Hall), a woman who specializes in exposing con artists and debunking claims of the supernatural. In the opening scene, Cathcart debunks a seance and then meets West's character, who tells her of a haunting that might actually be real.
The Awakening premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and has already been released in the U.K., but is only now making its way to American audiences. Check out a more detailed synopsis of the film below.
Set in London in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Hall), author of the popular book 'Seeing Through Ghosts,' has devoted her career to exposing claims of the supernatural as nothing but hoaxes. Haunted by the recent death of her fiancé, she is approached by Robert Mallory (West) to investigate the recent death of a student at the all-boys boarding school where he teaches. When students at the school report sightings of the young boy’s ghost, she decides to take on the case. Initially, the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a schoolboy prank, but as Florence continues to investigate events at the school, she begins to believe that her reliance on science may not be enough to explain the strange phenomenon going on around her.
The opening scene to The Awakening is masterful in how it tricks the viewer. The seance feels so real that when it's shown to be fake, you're almost embarrassed that you believed it - which is precisely how the older woman in the seance feels, too. The thing about people who believe in ghosts is that, for the most part, they don't want to know the truth. It's more appealing to believe that their lost loved one is somewhere out there instead of gone forever.
Cathcart is interesting because, while she undoubtedly wishes she could bring her back her dead fiancé, she knows it's not possible. When she investigates a real haunting, though, she's forced to reconsider her position. Granted, it's not the most original territory, but that kind of emotional drama is essential for telling a good ghost story and it looks like The Awakening might well be a good one.
Check out the official trailer for the film below:
The Awakening comes out in limited release later this month on August 17th.