The Netflix Supernatural Horror Secret Gem From Modern Master Director

By Christopher Isaac | Updated

before i wake netflix

Today, director Mike Flanagan is well-established in the horror genre, with his latest project being the incredibly popular The Fall of the House of Usher miniseries. However, once he got into professional film making, it did not take him long to start leaving his mark on the genre. And you can revisit one of the films that put Flanagan on the map, with Before I Wake available to stream on Netflix!

Before I Wake

before i wake netflix

This 2016 movie is a modern take on the classic genre of children who are attuned to the supernatural. In this case, a married couple adopt a young boy named Cody after their biological son recently passed away. Cody has had difficulty finding a lasting foster home due to tragedy befalling the families that take him in.

This might sound a bit reminiscent of movies like The Omen, but Before I Wake has some fresh twists in this Netflix hidden gem.

Cody’s Gift

It turns out Cody’s dreams actually manifest in reality. At first, his new parents are overjoyed by this as Cody is able to make their deceased biological son appear by dreaming about him. But then Cody begins to have bad dreams of a horrific monster he refers to as the Canker Man.

The creature attacks the couple and only disappears when Cody wakes up. It becomes evident that Cody’s “gift” is what led to the tragedies at his previous foster families. It is part of what makes Before I Wake worth a watch on Netflix, as Cody is not the typical malicious child, but is inadvertently hurting others.

An Original Twist

Beyond the horror aspect of the movie, it brings some genuine heart to the characters as it uses the genre to explore the theme of grief. It is a rare scary movie that encourages you to also try and find compassion for the one endangering everybody.

Critics were also complimentary of this twist, with some even calling Before I Wake one of the best original horror films that Netflix has released.


before i wake netflix

Since Before I Wake’s release, Mike Flanagan has of course gone on to more ambitious projects. In the ensuing years, he has continued to build his reputation as a horror director through projects like the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep.

Also of note is that Flanagan does not just direct his projects but is also hands on with the writing. He did the screenplay for Doctor Sleep, and also wrote Before I Wake prior to it finding a home on Netflix.

Stream It Now

The horror genre is notoriously difficult to establish a name in as what is scary is so subjective. So it is an impressive feat that Mike Flanagan has broken into the genre as a mainstay in modern times, especially so quickly.

After Before I Wake was released on Netflix, he also was able to alternate between doing projects for both cinema and for television, receiving recognition for his work in both mediums.

If you saw The Fall of the House of Usher and are looking for more scares from the mind behind the miniseries, you owe it to yourself to check out Flanagan’s other work. Before I Wake is a great place to start, so give it a watch on Netflix today!