Imagine for a moment a world in which you cannot go to sleep. No, I don’t mean a demon that will haunt your dreams like Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. You literally can’t sleep. The phones aren’t working, the power is out, and the military shows up… There is no such thing as unconscious people anymore. “They’re either on, or they’re off,” says a scientist played by Finn Jones. Your mind will “bend until it breaks” without sleep. The possibilities with an apocalyptic premise like this one are nearly endless. Wherever your imagination can go with this scenario, rest assured, the filmmakers of Awake are content with a simplistic depiction of a doomsday situation.
Jill (Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez) figures out that her daughter Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) may be the only hope in figuring out a solution for this bizarre phenomena. It turns out Matilda is actually immune to this curse, and she may be the key to humanity’s salvation. Scientists race to discover a cure as Jill contemplates whether to surrender her daughter, or try to forge her own path as her sleepless state begins affecting her sanity.
Awake is teeming with potential from its catastrophic concept, yet it fails to deliver anything fresh or exciting. The imagery is possibly the most disappointing of all. Occasional people wandering the streets and some light looting and structural damage try to insist this is an apocalyptic society on the brink of destruction. It just feels empty of specificity and purpose. When the final act devolves into gunfire, experimentation, and medical mumbo jumbo, it becomes even more obvious that this Netflix thriller is a letdown. You can keep your eyes closed on this one—Awake gives little reason to keep you from drifting off in mediocrity.
Awake keeps its eyes open on Netflix, Wednesday June 9th.