The Reel Review
A young medical student trying to help her brother suffering from an extremely rare, fatal sleep disorder finds herself figuratively and literally trapped in a nightmare scenario when it starts to appear as though he is possessed by a demon, in this horror/thriller on Amazon.
While co-writer/director Daniel J. Phillips says he intended his debut horror film to be a more sophisticated, less gory one, he is burdened with a predictable, uninspired script that contains very few scares, and quite a few plot holes and ridiculously unlikely scenarios, despite an interesting concept and some surprisingly well done visual effects.
The acting also suffers. Despite solid performances from leads Sara West and Benson Jack Anthony as her sleep-deprived brother, performances from some of the supporting cast are shocking only in how distractingly bad they are.
• Fatal Familial Insomnia is an extremely rare, genetically inherited disorder that affects only a few dozen people worldwide, where an individual loses all ability to sleep. It typically develops in patients between the age of 31 and 62. There is no cure and it typically causes death within 12-18 months.
• Co-writer/director Daniel J. Phillips says 2015’s The Russian Sleep Experiment was an inspiration for his film.
• Awoken was filmed in Adelaide, Australia.