Netflix Sci-Fi Dystopian Thriller With Unbelievable Cast Is Hiding Away In The Dark

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

The 2021 sci-fi thriller Awake is streaming on Netflix. The film is directed by Mark Raso from a script he co-wrote with Joseph Raso. It stars Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Pepper, Finn Jones, Shamier Anderson, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Elias Edraki, Lucius Hoyos, and Gil Bellows. The story focuses on a global catastrophe that causes mass chronic sleep deprivation.

Insomnia Apocalypse

Awake, a Netflix original film, follows former U.S. Army medic and recovering addict Jill Adams (Gina Rodriguez), who works as a security guard at a local college. To make extra money, she steals drugs from the research lab and sells them. She has two kids, Noah (Lucius Hoyos) and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt). One day, while driving, their car loses power and crashes into a lake.

Sleep Deprivation Is More Frightening Than Zombies

Matilda drowns but is revived by a police officer who reveals that all electrical devices are failing. At the hospital, they learn that coma patients have woken up. Back home, the family finds they can’t sleep. On her way to work, Jill notices that everyone in the neighborhood is also awake. Psychiatrist Dr. Murphy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) explains people will soon suffer from sleep deprivation.

The Reason Why This Is Happening

The only exception is an old woman being studied at a military base called The Hub, where they hope to find a cure. Jill remembers seeing Matilda asleep that morning and fears she might be dead. She finds Matilda at church, where the congregation wants to sacrifice her. Amid the chaos of Awake, a police officer opens fire, and Jill escapes with her kids.

Noah suggests they take Matilda to The Hub but run into trouble along the way. Jill eventually finds the woman who can sleep, is in poor health. Murphy explains that there is no cure and that lab workers have been using a drug to temporarily help their brains function. When the military confronts the family, Matilda tearfully admits she can sleep, bringing Awake closer to its shocking conclusion.

Dismal Ratings

Awake was produced by Entertainment One, Paul Schiff Productions, and Netflix. The movie received mostly negative reviews from critics. The film currently holds a dismal 24 percent rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes alongside an equally poor 26 percent audience score. The site’s general consensus praises its intriguing sci-fi premise but notes that it is squandered by its poor story.

The film’s concept is somewhat reminiscent of classic sci-fi stories where humanity faces existential threats that drastically change daily life, evoking comparisons to films like Bird Box and A Quiet Place. To add realism to Awake, Netflix and the filmmakers consulted with sleep experts and neurologists to accurately depict the effects of sleep deprivation.

Awake Is Only On Netflix

As part of Netflix’s strategy to release more original films, Awake was promoted heavily on the platform, contributing to its some high viewership at the time of its release despite mixed reviews. Although the movie falters in its execution, it managed to capture viewers’ interest, even if it does not resonate universally in critical acclaim. It’s worth checking out.