Written by Stephen Volk and Nick Murphy
*Winner of the Golden Raven, Grand Prix of the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film 2012
*British Independent Film Awards nomination - Rebecca Hall 
*Short-listed, British Fantasy Award: Best Screenplay 2012 


The Awakening Official Trailer 

England, 1921: a nation beset by the grief following World War I.  A skeptical woman scientist, Florence Cathcart, is adamant in her conviction that all ghosts and spiritual manifestations can be explained away as either callous fraud or the products of fevered imaginations.  But when she is called to a countryside boarding school for boys to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting, she finds her beliefs -- all her beliefs -- shaken to the core. Facing something genuinely awakened from the past, she realizes her rationality finally gives her no place to hide.

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Watch BBC's "Film 2011: Behind The Scenes of The Awakening with Rebecca Hall and Dominic West"

Florence Cathcart..........Rebecca Hall
Mallory...........................Dominic West
Maud..............................Imelda Staunton
Judd...............................Joseph Mawle
Tom................................Isaac Hempstead-Wright
McNair............................Shaun Dooley
Rev Hugh Purslow..........John Shrapnel
Harriet Cathcart.............Diana Kent
Vera Flood......................Tilly Vosburgh
Katherine Vandermeer...Anastasia Hille
Freddie Strickland..........Cal Macininch
Constance Strickland.....Lucy Cohu




"Twisty and atmospheric..."  "With beautiful cinematography, restrained use of effects, and acting much better than it had to be,The Awakening gives thriller fans more than they're trained to expect."  The Hollywood Reporter

"An instant British horror classic"  Glamour

"A creepy and compelling ghost story"  GQ

"If The Awakening had simply painted a rapturous, thrilling ghost story, it would have been fine... but Murphy and co-writer Stephen Volk bring the sadness of loss into the proceedings."  "The Awakening is for those who loved The Devil's Backbone and The Others. It's for those who want to be transported into a sumptuous and haunting place on the hazy line between life and death."

"Referencing classics of the genre from The Innocents to The Others, Nick Murphy's debut feature is a chilling haunted-house yarn that boasts a great cast, plenty of surprises, and is as deceptively moving as it is chilling"  Michael Heyden, London Film Festival

"Rarely does a horror film make the back of your neck tingle with the calibre of its performances as well as its jumps and jolts -- but The Awakening, a beautifully mounted ghost story in the style of The Turn of the Screw, provides chills of both kinds"  Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

"Director Nick Murphy and his co-writer Stephen Volk have crafted something special, a ghost story to get the blood pumping with a chill that lingers betond the roll of the credits... Defiant in the face of the decaying post-modern scary movie, The Awakening evokes the spirit of the classic ghost story, with a genuine understanding of the creation and application of fear which needs no gore-strewn slaughterhouses or operatic disembowelment; this is a welcome return to the grip of death and its effects."  "Like Volk's Ghostwatch, the path we are led down ends up somewhere very different to a place we might expect."  "It understands what scares us and suffuses the air with a sense of dread and unease"  HeyUGuys

"Spooky, involving and occasionally resonant... providing a terrific lead part for one of the most promising actresses of her generation."  "It's got the same kind of feeling as a really well-done fairground ghost train, which we can't help but feel is the effect that a film like this should have, really."  "A gift of a character..."  "We're not ones to encourage the franchising of films, necessarily, but we wouldn't be particularly distressed to hear of future Florence Cathcart adventures down the line... Disarmingly moving"  IndieWIRE

"The film features a script by Stephen Volk, a man who knows a thing or two about scary stuff, having created the TV drama Afterlife and being behind one of Empire's favourite spooky fake-outs, 1992's Ghostwatch"  Empire

"A grown-up script allied with Nick Murphy's unshouty direction makes for an assured, imaginative film, that plays as a very British kind of ghost story"  Steve O'Brien, The Fan Can

"The Best Ghost Story Since The Others... Consistently chilling horror, which manages to be scary, erotic, intellectually and emotionally engaging"

"Atmospheric, well played and seriously creepy"  Nick Lowe's Mutant Popcorn (Interzone)

"Volk's writing still shines through here. The Awakening is absolutely a continuation of his previous work (Gothic, Ghostwatch, Afterlife) -- obsessive examinations of why we need our ghosts...  A finely written, finely acted, finely crafted ghost story, and quite possibly one of the finest British films of recent years--but most assuredly one of the best ghost stories of the decade"  Fangoria

"Jump-out-of-your-seat scary" LoveFilm

"A laudable attempt at a thoughtful, grown-up horror story"  Fortean Times

"Everything about this classic ghost story is assured -- all held together by an exquisitely crafted screenplay"  Anton Bitel, Little White Lies

"As chilling as you might expect from a haunted boarding school film, this movie starring Rebecca Hall conjures the unsettling mood of the ghost stories of Guillermo Del Toro's early work"  Los Angeles Times

"A delight seeing an intelligent genre film in the classical tradition"  Eric Red, writer of The Hitcher and Near Dark 

"One of the creepiest, unsettling and downright frightening horror stories of the last 20 years. The Awakening is a film about damaged people in a damaged trying to right itself after the cataclysm of war. It is a period triumph, wholly plausible and consistently scary, taking its lead from the tales of titans such as Poe, Bierce and James"  Tony Earnshaw 

Connect to read Alison Pierce's analysis in Film Studies, Vol 14 (Spring 2016) [Copyright Manchester University Press]: 

"How To Write a Horror Film: The Awakening (2011) and Development Practices in the British Film Industry" by Alison Pierce 

Join The Awakening FaceBook page

Read the Den of Geek interview with director Nick Murphy

Interview with Stephen Volk on The Fan Can

Stephen Volk interview with James Rose and The Awakening review 

Watch the Rebecca Hall interview in The Culture Show (BBC2)

Dominic West in The Independent

Read the review on Whatculture!

Read the review on HeyUGuys

Listen to Mark Kermode's radio review of The Awakening 

Read the review on Movie Morlocks 

Read the production announcement on Screen Daily and Empire Online.

Read horror writer and film critic Anne Billson in The Guardian on "why ghost stories like The Awakening are always best when they give up the ghost". (Nov 11, 2011)

Read The Awakening's composer Daniel Pemberton on "why the very best soundtracks are the simplest". (Nov 15, 2011)

Watch Arthur Conan Doyle in person talking about Sherlock Holmes and Spiritualism

Director: Nick Murphy
Director of Photography: Eduard Grau
Producer: David M. Thompson, Sarah Curtis, Julia Stannard
Executive Producers: Joe Oppenheimer, Will Clarke, Jenny Borgars, Olivier Courson, Norman Merry, Carole Sheridan
Production Companies: Origin Pictures, BBC Films, StudioCanal Features, Creative Scotland, Lip Sync Productions, Eagle Pictures

For full cast and credits, go to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).

More information about Origin Pictures


Check out the 2018 podcast interview with Stephen Volk about the inspiration for and writing of The Awakening on Britflix.