REAWAKENED (2020) Review
Director Jose Altonaga and writer Remy MacKenzie both worked in the casting department for 1985’s Evils of the Night, Now, if you’ve seen that film, and I have, you know that’s not an auspicious sign. The fact that Reawakened was shot back in 2014-15 and was just now being released didn’t help. But I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
Michele (Steffani Brass, The Onania Club, Stoker Hills) wakes up in the hospital. The only survivor of a hiking trip gone very wrong, the cops want to speak to her. As her grandmother (Tina Cole, Hawaiian Eye, My Three Sons) and Detective Henderson (Chantelle Albers, The 6th Friend) listen she recounts what happened.
She along with a group of friends went hiking and planned to stay at a relative’s cabin. Once they get there Sarah (Brooke Mackenzie, Sink Hole) finds a pentagram in one of the rooms and puts on an amulet that was in it. Of course, this leads to her being possessed by the spirit of Abigail, a witch executed several hundred years ago. Pretty soon she’s having flashbacks to the 1600s, her eyes are looking weird and she’s digging up a spellbook. Then people start dying.
Pretty soon Sarah/Abigail turns up in town to continue her killing spree. She starts with the professor who was doing some research for Henderson. Then heads to the hospital looking for Michele.
I get the feeling Reawakened had some issues and possibly re-shoots. The film has a Facebook page created in 2014, it talks about shooting in 2014 and 2015 and post-production finishing in 2016. However, the film itself has a copyright date of 2015 for the score and 2017 for the script. Which would explain why several scenes with Detective Henderson feel disconnected from the rest of the film. As if they were written and shot later then edited in, probably to make it long enough to sell.
However it was shot, Reawakened is a fairly average film. The plot is certainly generic enough. Young folk go to a house in the woods. something that should not have been messed with is messed with. Young people don’t get to become old people. We have somebody get possessed, go pale and start talking in a weird voice. Their eyes get weird-looking, etc.
But it does try to keep moving rather than be all talk. And I’ll give the makers of Reawakened credit for getting some blood and effects on the screen. They don’t always work, one headless body is obviously a mannequin and the CGI blood is obvious. But after the glut of bloodless deaths in recent films, I’m happy to see people get stabbed and have severed heads thrown at them. Even if it doesn’t always look right.
Something else that doesn’t always look right actually works for Reawakened. Judging from the website much of it was shot in front of a green screen. And the results are not realistic. However, this frequently gives scenes a vibe that matches the supernatural goings-on. Chalk that up to a happy accident.
The result is a film that has enough going for it that you won’t need to be reawakened after it’s over. But it’s still too generic to be anything more than watchable.