The Awakening

The Awakening

Nick Murphy (2011)

15 Certificate


Our Score
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.


In 1920s England, paranormal investigator Florence Cathcart travels around the country exposing supposed supernatural occurrences as hoaxes. She is summoned to a remote boarding school to examine reports of a haunting, but finds her rational disbelief in the occult challenged by the disturbing events that unfold there. Horror, starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West and Imelda Staunton.

Cast & Crew

Florence Cathcart Rebecca Hall
Robert Mallory Dominic West
Maud Hill Imelda Staunton
Tom 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
Director Nick Murphy
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Optimum ReleasingGuidance: Violence.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 11 Nov 2011