The Awakening

  • 15
  • Nick Murphy (2011)
  • Fr / UK
  • 102 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Writer/director Nick Murphy and co-writer Stephen Volk (the veteran ghost-story genius behind the controversial 1992 TV classic Ghostwatch) deliver a mostly effective and unnerving 1920s-set tale here. Rebecca Hall plays Florence Cathcart, a feisty debunker of alleged hauntings, who finds herself summoned to a remote boys' boarding school by teacher Robert Mallory (Dominic West), who tells her that his charges are being menaced by a mysterious spectre. Florence finds that the sinister atmosphere of the school and the influence of its creepy housekeeper (a pleasantly hammy Imelda Staunton) refuse to dissipate, despite her attempts to discover a rational explanation of events. Sadly, things go a little haywire in the third act and much of the carefully wrought tension and ambiguity is lost in an orgy of melodrama and implausibility. This is no classic of a notoriously difficult genre, but if you can forgive the silly conclusion, it's still satisfyingly scary.

Plot Summary

Supernatural thriller starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. England, 1921: Florence Cathcart has made a name for herself by debunking ghostly phenomena and exposing mediums as con artists. But when invited to a supposedly haunted boarding school in Cumbria, where one of the pupils has recently died, Florence is faced with her greatest challenge.

Cast and crew


Florence Cathcart
Rebecca Hall
Robert Mallory
Dominic West
Maud Hill
Imelda Staunton
Isaac Hempstead-Wright
Edward Judd
Joseph Mawle
Reverend Hugh Purslow
John Shrapnel
Freddie Strickland
Cal MacAninch
Constance Strickland
Lucy Cohu
Malcolm McNair
Shaun Dooley
Harriet Cathcart
Diana Kent
Alexander Cathcart
Richard Durden


Nick Murphy

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Optimum Releasing
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 11 Nov 2011
Certificate 15