The upcoming fantasy horror film Before I Wake looks to be building its otherworldly dread from two of humanity’s biggest sources of fear: our own imaginations and other people’s children. Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane star as a grief-stricken married couple who decide to take in a foster child after the death of their son. Foster kids very often arrive with a suitcase full of issues needing to be worked out (as do most children, really, but biology has a way helping parents look past their own kids’ complications). However, when Cody (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) comes into their lives, he brings issues that are—how shall we say?—somewhat extraordinary.
His dreams substantiate themselves as reality, which is all well and good when that means you’ve got some pretty Christmas light butterflies fluttering around your living room. But when your deceased child walks briefly back into your life, the situation gets a little more disturbing. The terror here seems to derive as much from the question of how one deals with these surreal manifestations as it does with how one deals with their source.
Mike Flanagan—who previously brought us 2013’s surprisingly affecting head-trippy horror film Oculus—directs from a screenplay he wrote alongside Jeff Howard (who also co-wrote Oculus). Annabeth Gish and Dash Mihok (Ray Donovan) co-star.
Before I Wake will materialize in theaters on September 9.