Set in 1921, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall), a debunker of ghost sightings, is asked by schoolmaster Robert Mallory (Dominic West) and Maud Hill (Imelda Staunton) to investigate a sighting at their boarding school.
Once there, Florence lays traps to expose the person responsible for the "spectre". But soon her ability to logically explain the supernatural occurrences leads her to believe in the unthinkable: ghosts exist.
Director Nick Murphy has put together an impressive feature film debut. The Awakening borrows from psycho-drama mystery traditions for maximum chills. You only really get minor flashes of ghost, but your anticipation - which is helped along by timely cuts and off-screen sounds - never subsides.
The muted, under-saturated colour makes the period depicted more authentic. However, it also gives the film a dullness more akin to older TV sets than contemporary cinema screens.
The Awakening is confident in its own skin, even when it's borrowing from predecessors. It avoids complicating the story, too.
Contains frightening scenes
YP Rating: 4/5