The Awakening : Goose Bumps Up!

Review by Augusta Okon

Movie Title : The Awakening
Cast: O.C.Ukeje, kehinde Bankole, Deleke Aroloye, Brian Okwara, Femi Brainard
Director: James Omokwe, Ethan Okwara
Genre: Thriller

It’s a thriller!…it’s going to be creepy, edgy!. Well… not to worry, the perception of this genre in this part of Moviedom, is somewhat different from what the originators of the genre had in mind. Besides, this isn’t the British 2011 flick of same title with a horror genre, directed by Nick Murphy, starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton. It’s our own Naija production produced by New York Academy’s alumnus, Theresa Ananenu and directed by the duo of James Omokwe and Ethan Okwara.

Young talented advertising executive Nicholas (O.C.Ukeje of Confusion Na Wa), experiences a frightening wave of premonitions about the death of certain folks, which occurs swiftly. He tries to avert the death of a man he has a premonition about, but the man dies. He takes to his heels from what has become the crime scene and goes into hiding. His friend Gbade (Deleke Aroloye) a police officer consumed with a passion to put criminals behind bars, ‘friends and foes alike’, threatens to haunt him down if he fails to turn himself in.

Nicholas knows he means it and a publication in a newspaper by Zainab (Kehinde Bankole of The Meeting) a reporter who has joined the investigation arm of the Media house, slams the murder charge on him. In order to clear the air, he meets with Zainab who finds his story unbelievable, but another premonition and actual death of a man she witnesses, makes her swap sides from the ‘insanely unbelievable’ to the believable camp. She on the other hand, has had a weird encounter with a woman who passes a strange box to her and mysteriously vanishes. The ancient contents of the box is indecipherable. Nicholas and Zainab team up to unravel the mystery surrounding the premonitions, deaths and contents of the strange box… but Gbade is not the only one after them…a strange sect lurks in the corner watching and tailing them…waiting for the right moment to strike!.

The Awakening brings a breath of fresh air to the already stifled movie environment. It took four months to wrap up shooting while post production took ten months. Unfortunately, sound which is considered to be a germane element in film production was heavily compromised, partly robbing the movie of its shine. Gbade’s fighting scene still goes to show the non-mastery of skills and effects needed for making such realistic. One wonders the need for replacing the Nigerian police force with its several divisions, with the likes of Calabar Metropolitan Force in Charles Aniagolu’s, Streets of Calabar, and Lagos Police dept here, with both subtly bearing similitude with the British and American police systems.

Although the movie begins to drag at some point, it graciously picks up once more. The strongest pivotal element of the movie revolves around the SPFX deployed in certain scenes especially the transformation part at the movie’s tail. However more creative special make up effects would have been better created on ‘the transformed’. The Awakening is indubitably an ambitious project that seeks to carve a niche for itself in an industry where leeched stories, ingenuity, unprofessionalism continue to fly its worn out flag at full mast.

The story which develops the use of the past and present via series of flashbacks, good premonition scenes shot to invoke true sense of realism in tandem with the death scenes, animated scenes unravelling the history of a masked ancient tribal genealogy facing extinction, coupled with good believable SPFX, (unlike the multitudinous crèche SPFX that dominates Nollywood), makes ‘The Awakening’ a notable thriller to come out of Naija.
Rating : 3
Rating Guide :
5 : Classic
4: Very Good
3 : Good
2: Fair
1: An Apology

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