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The Awakening (I) (2011)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  11 November 2011 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 42,605 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 107 user | 190 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

In 1921, England is overwhelmed by the loss and grief of World War I. Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart visits a boarding school to explain sightings of a child ghost. Everything she believes unravels as the 'missing' begin to show themselves.



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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McNair
Edward Judd
Diana Kent ...
Harriet Cathcart
Alexander Cathcart
Reverend Hugh Purslow
Freddie Strickland
Constance Strickland
Anastasia Hille ...
Dorothy Vandermeer
George Vandermeer
Tilly Vosburgh ...
Vera Flood
Ian Hanmore ...
Albert Flood


In 1921, in London, the arrogant and skeptical Florence Cathcart is famous for exposing hoaxes and helping the police to arrest con artists. The stranger Robert Mallory tells her that the headmaster of a boarding school in Rookford had invited her to travel to Cumbria to investigate a ghost that is frightening the pupils to death. He also tells that many years ago there was a murder in the estate and recently pupil Walter Portman had died. The reluctant Florence finally accepts to go to Cumbria. On arrival, she is welcomed by governess Maud and the boy Thomas Hill. Soon Florence discovers what had happened to Walter and then the students, teachers and staff are released on vacation, and Florence remains alone with Robert, Maud and Tom in the school. Florence is ready to leave the boarding school when strange things happen, leaving Florence scared. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All the children are gone... except one.


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 November 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Buđenje  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The painting, of two woman killing a man, that is said to be the boys' favorite is titled "Judith beheading Holofernes" and painted in 1612 by Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652). See more »


When Florence went into the hidden compartment and found the stuffed rabbit, the rabbit played a recorded song. At this point in history, toys only contained small music boxes, which played chiming music. The closest thing was the "Lioretgraph Jumeau" which sang a maximum of 35 words using a small phonograph. More advanced singing toys didn't make their appearance until the late 1930's and early 40's. See more »


[first lines]
Vera Flood: [answering the door] Miss Simpson? Are you prepared?
Florence Cathcart: [yes] I brought this.
[shows envelope]
See more »

Crazy Credits

[opening title] Observation: Between 1914 and 1919, war and influenza claimed more than a million lives in Britain alone. Conclusion: This is a time for ghosts. Florence Cathcart "Seeing Through Ghosts" p7 See more »


Featured in Projector: The Awakening (2011) See more »


Finlandia Hymn - Be Still My Soul
Written by Jean Sibelius, Katharina A. von Schlegel
Performed by Michael Csányi-Wills, Jeff Moore, Andrew Skeet
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User Reviews

A true ghost story
24 August 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Awakening is a sly ghost story, and slipped by mostly unnoticed in 2012. The trailer suggests some scary genre thrills, and while there are a few, most of the trauma that befalls the characters is of interpersonal nature, the demons of their past proving to be far more haunting than any supernatural spooks hiding in the closet. It's isn't without its paranormal jump scares though, but they are nicely blended with the story and personal conflicts of the characters, giving them earned purpose. Rebecca Hall fares excellently ras as a paranormal investigator from circa early 30's London, brought out to the foggy moors of northern england to a grandiose, austere boys boarding school, where some mysterious phenomena has been reported. She reluctantly takes the journey, convinced by one of the teachers (Dominic West) a haunted world war one veteran with demons of his own. She arrives and is subjected to a dank, lonely atmosphere that's chilling enough without being haunted. The boys are muted, frightened waifs, the teachers besides West a morose bunch. She starts prying around, and digs up some secrets that she wished she hadn't. The moody marshlands and gaunt, gilded halls of the building provide a wealth of haunted house atmosphere for us to feast on. But it's a slow burn, with no loud, ridiculous red herring scares or ill placed grotesque cheap thrills. Joseph Mawle makes our skin crawl as an unsettling grounds keeper, Imelda Staunton is even more terrifying than in Harry Potter, if that's possible, and Shaun Dooley is wonderful as a broken man and colleague of West's. This film and The Woman In Black came out the same year, and are very similar on paper. The Awakening is the better execution though, and you need look no further to find a spine chiller that's anchored in a relatable, human story that truly surprises you in the end, and not a cheesy, plodding mess like Woman In Black. Perfect choice for anyone who likes a creepy horror with a big payoff that honors it's characters and it's vision.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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