Dallas IFF '10 – Wake Review


A confusing film, that even when it is all explained in the end, is lacking in logic.

Reading the festival schedule, the description of Wake compared it to hotel horror films such as Psycho and Identity. While the film does feature a stranded couple in a seedy roadside motel, it is probably better compared in story to films such as Wristcutters: A Love Story instead. Only much darker.

Paul and Adrienne (played by Josh Stewart, Law Abiding Citizen, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, The Sopranos) are traveling through the desert of California and are headed to LA to attend a wedding. They get in a minor accident and the couple is too shaken up to continue driving, so they head to a motel for the night. They are greeted by the creepy hotel manager named Frank (Chris Browning, The Book of Eli) who has a disappearing/reappearing wife named Sandy (Angela Featherstone, The Wedding Singer). Paul and Adrienne get settled in their room and immediately get into an argument. Paul leaves to cool down and heads to the motel café, run by Frank, and meets a strange man (Afemo Omilami, The Blind Side) with a mysteriously vast knowledge of Paul’s past.

The film has two separate plotlines going on at different time periods. At the same time we are introduced to Paul and Adrienne, with various crazy things happening in their room as more facts are brought up about a dark secret of Paul’s, we are also introduced to Frank and Sandy and the events that led up to the demise of their relationship. The film’s presentation is choppy however, which distracts and confuses the audience even more. We aren’t given enough to cling to and the events unfold entirely too slowly. Too much time is spent on little details – for example, taking a full three minutes to have two characters walk silently, slowly toward each other and then each light a cigarette and too much time was spent on make out scenes – and too little time is spent on things that are actually important.

Wake is an interesting concept and has a twist ending that will either catch you by surprise, or have you rolling your eyes. I for one experienced the latter. I thought the twist was a little too bizarre, as we are taken back in time to see how events really happened. The twist seemed like it was adding too much to an already crowded script. Otherwise the acting was excellent, especially by Josh Stewart and Chris Browning. Wake is a confusing film, that even when it is all explained in the end, is lacking in logic.

Director: Chad Feehan
Notable Cast: Chris Browning, Josh Stewart, Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Writer(s): Chad Feehan