(director/writer: Mark Raso; screenwriter: Joseph Raso/story by Gregory Poirier; cinematographer: Alan Poon; editor: Michele Conroy; music: Antonio Pinto; cast: Luclus Hoyos (Noah Adams), Finn Jones (Bryan), Gina Rodriguez (Jill Adams), Ariana Greenblatt (Matilda Adams), Barry Pepper (Preacher), Shamier Anderson (Dodge, Convict), Frances Fisher (Jill’s religious mother-in-law), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Dr. Murphy,Army Doctor); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Schiff; Netflix; 2021)
“Awake put me to sleep.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Toronto-born filmmaker Mark Raso (“Kodachrome”/”Copenhagen”) is writer-director of this overwrought cautionary tale about a deadly pandemic that robs people of the ability to sleep. It’s co-written by Mark and his brother Joseph, and is adapted from the story by Gregory Poirier.
The survival sci-fi is a snoozer, about a devastating global event, with no known cause, that wipes out all electronics and eliminates the ability to sleep (without sleep death is immanent).
A former soldier, Jill (Gina Rodriguez), given the boot for drug-addiction but still in the reserves and working as a security guard at a psychiatric clinic (recommended for the job by the army Dr. Murphy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who has a dark past).
At the clinic, the recovering addict Jill steals pills for her own use or to sell. The single mom of two, driving with her children, Noah (Luclus Hoyos) and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt), finds her car stalls out because of an electrical malfunction. This happens to all cars and signals the beginning of the apocalypse, as a line of stalled cars push her car off the road into the lake. The family escapes unharmed.
The next morning the family discovers Matilda is the only one who can sleep, and mom is hopeful that scientist will study her and come up with a solution to save the world, but afraid her daughter might be harmed by those who are jealous of her. So the protective mom tries to shelter her from others.
Filled with one-note characters, a terrible screenplay and bad actors, Awake put me to sleep (which might have been a blessing).
REVIEWED ON 6/11/2021 GRADE: C-