So my dear sister recommends me this British movie called Awaiting, which she claims will “blow my mind!”
I had never heard of it, and for good reason. It’s written and directed by Mark Murphy, whose first project was 2014’s Crypt, which has a glowing 3.8 rating on IMDB. Awaiting is only slightly better with a rating of 4.6, and has only one review (a positive one, no less) on Rotten Tomatoes. The cast features Tony Curran, who has been in a whole bunch of stuff but rarely as anything notable, TV actor Rupert Hill, and former X-Factor contestant Diana Vickers.
Filled with healthy scepticism, I took on Awaiting anyway, not expecting much. Granted, the premise seems promising — kind of. Curran plays Morris, a psychotic recluse with a daughter (Vickers) who has grown up isolated from the rest of the world. One rainy night, a lawyer (Hill) is involved in a freak accident and wakes up in Morris’s home, and thus kicks off a nightmare that begins awkwardly and soon turns to terror.
To Murphy’s credit, Awaiting does have some positives. The basic idea and the direction of the narrative is strong, and I enjoyed the slow build up of tension and creeping sense of unease. There are also some great twists and turns towards the end as the film turns crazier and bloodier and descends into absolute . It’s not particularly original, but the sum of the various borrowed bits and pieces make it an unusual, and occasionally chilling — or at least visceral — experience.
My main problem with the film is that it is just really rough around the edges. It’s very low budget and it looks that way. The dialogue is horrible. At first I thought it might just have been bad acting, but later I realised it’s not the actors’ fault — they’re actually not bad. It’s just that the reactions of the characters aren’t always logical, or they’re too over the top, often out of nowhere.
None of the characters are particularly well-developed either. The lawyer does not elicit any sympathy and the psycho isn’t anywhere near as creepy as he ought to have been. I know the worst psychos tend to be the ones who catch you off guard, but here, even when he’s supposed to be terrifying, he’s only scaring us with what he’s doing as opposed to who he is.
Couple that with a bunch of logic gaps and continuity errors, the result is a campy vibe and a cheap feel that takes away much of the film’s effectiveness. It’s a shame, because I think in the hands of a quality production team — a director with a slicker visual style, scriptwriters who can iron out the kinks and sharpen up the dialogue, a better music score and a bigger budget for sets and effects — I think Awaiting could have been pretty awesome.
2.75 stars out of 5