Despite a terrific concept and strong direction from the reliable Mike Flanagan, “Before I Wake” never really seems to come alive. Maybe it’s the weak script, which eschews a great storyline in favor of horror movie banalities and squanders many opportunities to engage the audience. Maybe it’s the poor performances of both Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane, who both seem disengaged and have little onscreen chemistry, making the central relationship rather forced. Whatever it is, “Before I Wake” is a wasted opportunity: The nightmare-come-to-life sequences are gripping and eerie, but everything else is ho-hum at best. In fact, the horror scenes are so effective that they rescue the entire movie from doldrums and make it worth a shot for genre fans, it’s just such a shame that a winning concept is squandered by a lazy script and disinterested performances.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)