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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

To-the-point Horror film.

Author: ElmStreetKid (ElmStreetKid @ webtv.net) from Haddonfield
19 August 2002

This was one of the most suspenseful direct-to-video thrillers I have seen in quite a while.

The movie starts off with three intruders breaking into a house while the family sleeps and picks up wonderfully from there.

If I Die Before I Wake, was one of those films where the situation could happen to anybody and that's where it's appeal comes from. This movie centers around a teenage girl living in the house and how she deals with whats going on. Her main focus are to of course, get out of the house, keep herself and little sister hidden, and to protect her family who are meanwhile being tortured and beaten.

The movie had a great load of suspense for the first twenty minutes but then winds down as the lead character is forced with split-second decisions. However, the end sequences pick up with intensity leading to a hard-hitting climax.

The acting was especially good with the teenage girl comparable to Marilyn from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

There wasn't much violence or gore so don't rent this looking for a massacre. Do rent this though if you want to be thrilled and at the edge of your seat. 6/10

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of the best horror movies I've seen

10/10
Author: ericpop27 from United States
8 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rented this movie a few years back on DVD just out of random curiosity, and I was hammered. The movie is about a group of three criminal brother who go around breaking into people's homes - but this particular time, the resident's are still in the house. They take the family hostage and what unfolds is a non-stop line or brutality on an average American family in Ohio. The clever eldest daughter spends the night lurking around the house trying to save her family. The mother is brutally raped, the brother and father killed, and the youngest daughter terrorized. But they'd better watch out for LoriBeth. She's a smart girl.

This movie is gory and will absolutely get your pulse pounding!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A Haunting 'Sleeper' Hit of the Year

9/10
Author: 70mm MAN from Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA
28 April 2001

I'm still holding my breath from this outstanding thriller!! What a fantanstic job Brian Katkin did in this sleeper hit. I can't rememeber how long it has been since a movie scared me. This one gets your attention from the start and never lets up. I actually considered turning it off about half way through because I was that horrified. I wasn't sure if I could take much more of the terror! I certainly was glad that I didn't. Katkin shows that a great scare can still be done without expensive "tricks" of computer effects. This is just a well done, good old fashion journey into fear. It is directed as good as the best of the best thrillers!

What helps make this so believable is this a crime that could happen to any of us at any time! I don't want to ruin anything by revealing the story. Just lock your windows and doors and allow yourself to let the movie take you for a ride. You'll be rewarded with a adrenaline pumping thrill as good as anything I have ever experienced. And I have to mention that Stephanie Jones was incredible. She does a 10 plus job of acting. She allows us to feel the horror she feels through the entire film. Also, the camera work was some of the best I've seen in this genre. It captures the fear perfectly, constanting taking us to the edge.

If you like a good scare, don't miss this one.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very disturbing Horror/Thriller that's quite suspenseful and effective, with a tense story, and excellent performances!

8/10
Author: callanvass
28 March 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a very disturbing Horror/Thriller that's quite suspenseful and effective, with a tense story and excellent performances!. All the characters are just great, and while the film is very engrossing it's certainly not a fun film to watch, plus Muse Watson is simply amazing in this! and Stephanie Jones is wonderful!. I didn't know what to expect from film, as it obviously sounded low budget, however I was really quite surprised by how great it was, and you will be rooting on Loribeth (Stephanie Jones), to get Daryl(Muse Watson),the sick twisted killer, for what he was doing to her family, plus it's very well made and written as well. It has tons of creepy atmosphere as a lot of the shots are set in the darkness, and I think this should be a lot higher then 5.2 in my opinion, plus I was lucky enough to find this in the DVD rental section at my video store. It's not very gory, but it is violent, as there is plenty of suggestive violence as well, and I thought the ending was extremely well done, plus Coryanne Sennett(Mary) gives one of the best child performances I have seen in a while!. This is a very disturbing Horror/Thriller that's quite suspenseful and effective, with a tense story, and excellent performances, I highly recommend this one!. The Direction is great!. Brian Katkin does a great! job here with awesome camera work, great opening shot, constantly adds creepy atmosphere and tension, and setting it in a dark creepy house with 3 maniacs just made it all that much creepier. The Acting is excellent!. Stephanie Jones is wonderful as the lead here, she was extremely likable, tough as nails, as you will be rooting her on to kill those 3 maniacs that hurt her family, I also loved how smart and resourceful she was, I saw so much potential in her,I hope she makes it big!. Muse Watson is amazing as the psycho killer, he was absolutely frightening and extremely menacing, at times he was almost campy&OTT, but he was just so frightening and heartless, he gave a memorable show. Coryanne Sennett gives one of the best child performances I have seen in a while, you will feel sorry for her, as she really did look scared ,she was fantastic!, she also had awesome chemistry with Stephanie Jones. Michael McCleery is good as the brother with a heart he did a good job. Anthony Nicosia did fine with what he had to do. Mary Kathleen Gordon&John Gavagin are great as the affected parents I felt for them both big time. Kristian Hans Horn is good as the son and did what he had to do well. Overall I highly recommend this one!. ***1/2 out of 5

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Can't say I enjoyed it but it packs a wallop

7/10
Author: preppy-3 from United States
10 June 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A gang of psychos break into a house one dark night. They find the mother, father and son...but fail to realize that the two girls in the family LoriBeth (a teenager) and her little sister heard them and are hiding. The gang begins to torture the family--the son is beaten up pretty brutally as are the mother and father. Can LoriBeth save her family?

This is a very unpleasant little film. It disturbed and horrified me but it IS a horror film so I guess it did its job. But the violence in the movie just goes overboard--there's rape, murders, torture...nothing much is shown but the sounds tell you everything. There's no reason given for them breaking into the house, but I guess that's the point. It's just showing how this could happen to anyone at anytime. But it starts to fall apart at the end. Up until the last 15 minutes or so it's logical. Then logic disappears (where did all the food from the refrigerator disappear to when T.J. threw it out?), people start doing REAL stupid things (LoriBeth goes up the chimney when she could have gone out the front door!) and it ends on a totally unrealistic note. Also the fate of two characters is left up in the air. Still 95% of the film works...and that's better than you can say for most horror films these days.

The acting is good--making it even harder to watch. Stephanie Jones is very good as LoriBeth and Muse Watson is downright terrifying as Daryl. It's also nice to see Michael McCleery as T.J.--I remember him from "Mother's Day" another very unpleasant 1980 horror movie.

So--unpleasant and far from perfect...but it DOES work for most of the way. I give it a 7.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Pretty Creepy

Author: Jack the Ripper1888 from Chicagooooooo
13 April 2002

This is one freaky movie that tells the story of three intruders breaking into a family's home and holding them hostage. It also shows pretty graphically what some people might actually do in this sort of situation. It is intense and over all frightening. Although some of my family members found it too violent for them to stomach, if you can put up with a lot of violence, then you're in for one scary ride of a movie. 5/5

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Classic Home Invasion Flick

10/10
Author: sydneyswesternsuburbs from Australia
16 July 2011

Director Brian Katkin has created a gem in If I Die Before I Wake.

Starring Stephanie Jones.

Also starring Muse Watson who has also been in other classic flicks, Frankenfish 2004, Dead Birds 2004 and From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money 1999.

Also starring Michael McCleery who has also been in other classic flicks, Road Kill 2001 and L.A. Confidential 1997.

I enjoyed the violence.

If you enjoyed this as much as I did then check out other classic home invasion flicks, Black Christmas 1974, A Clockwork Orange 1971, The Collector 2009, The Dark Hours 2005, The Devil's Rejects 2005, Switchblade Romance 2003, The House on the Edge of the Park 1980, Ils 2006, Inside 2007, Intruder 1989, The Last House on the Left 2009, Self Defense 1983, Enemy Territory 1987, Mother's Day 2010, Kidnapped 2010, The Raid: Redemption 2011, The Aggression Scale 2012, When a Stranger Calls Back 1993, The Purge 2013, You're Next 2011, Don't Breathe 2016, Hush 2016, The Plumber 1979 and The Strangers 2008.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

real life horror movie. you can watch these extreme things happening to your family.

4/10
Author: Joshua Jackson (the_joshler@yahoo.com) from United States
18 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is one of my personal favs. for a third date. the girl is so unnerved by the movie she wants for me to stay so she is not alone. the raw hand hand-held cam shots help. and the fact that they give no back story to the family of the robbers makes it so much more creepy, they're your family, getting raped and murdered in front of your eyes. but this is a movie you need to rent first. It is not for everyone. but I love it. If it can make me lock my door, It should make anyone. I don't get creeped out at movies, but this one does. It hits you at home, were your sister sleeps, were your mother sleeps, It finds that raw nerve and and keeps drilling it. don't watch this movie expecting blood and guts this is the wrong movie. watch this for a primal fear that you can't escape. I watched this movie 3 years ago and still think about it a lot. the acting is good.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Surprisingly Above-Average Nightmare

6/10
Author: Josh (darkjosh333@yahoo.com) from Los Angeles, CA
22 April 2001

For a movie that plunges into its thin story without introducing any characters, motives, or the scene, If I Die actually manages to create an air of dread from the start, but unfortunately tapers off to a conventional ending.

If I Die Before I Wake has a simple shoestring plot - three redneck burglars break into a suburban home and hold the family hostage, torturing them. In fact, they are tortured for the first third of the movie (the runtime is 72 minutes), and its quite a disturbing bevy of screams and pleading from the family that is successful in building a nightmarish tension.

From then on, we follow daughter Stephanie Jones as she maneuvers (sometimes incredulously) past and hides from their captors. While the script consists of routine dialogue and sometimes monotonous reworkings of Jones eluding her tormentors, it often surprises with the unexpected deaths of some major characters and one chillingly scripted scene in which one of the burglars peruses around with the little girl, mimicking the actions of her father from the home videos they are watching in the living room.

Director Katkin partially succeeds in delivering a cheap but genuinely creepy horror film in the first half by wallowing in torture and masochism, he missteps from then on last and falls prey to script conventions. Still, If I Die Before I Wake is worth a look if only for the unflinching terror inflicted on the innocent suburban family.

6 out of 10

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I don't dare to rate this movie...

Author: Christian Thaler from Germany
18 September 2007

...since I watched the movie just recently on German TV and I don't know how much was edited out by the TV station it was on. There really seemed to be a lot missing and the whole story seemed inconsistent and lacked continuity. I did not see any rape scene although there was supposed to be one somewhere. I never found out, who the intruders were and why they were there.

Some other bits of the movie just made it appear ridiculously fake (ripping out parts of the house, don't want to spoil anything) and at one point I was sure that Lori Beth and one intruder MUST HAVE seen each other, but both actors "no sold" the encounter.

Well, I don't want to rate the movie. It kept me watching and entertained me, but there certainly seemed to be some flaws. However, since I probably watched a highly edited version I don't find myself in a position to fairly rate this movie.

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