Movies / Fan Films

The Awakening Review

By Christopher Moshier
August 19, 2006 - 17:25

DIRECTOR: Mike Conway
WRITERS: Mike Conway, Kelly Johnston, and Erik Manion
PRODUCER: Kelly Johnston

Over 100 minutes of heart-pounding, sci-fi action PLUS the 35-minute "Making of..." documentary, Guns, Girls, and Clones.

Starring: Tamra Ericson Frame, Mike Conway, Timothy S. Daley, Keith Ford, Clay Finan, and Heather Guzzetta

I don’t want to say too many bad things about this film because frankly the actors in the film…well…they own guns.

The premise of the  The Awakening involves Doctor David Banner…Oops…wrong show…

David Andrade’s wife is dying from a really fun disease called cancer.  At the same time he is coincidently working on a top secret project based on genetic manipulation for a rogue government agency.  If you haven’t guessed it, David uses his experiments to heal his wife, but not only does it cure her it gives her a really nasty attitude that would make Cynthia McKinney seem likable.  Now David needs to get his wife under control while she is running around decapitating military soldiers as easily as I used to pop off the heads of my sister’s Barbies.  If that doesn’t sound like a plot for a superhero movie I don’t know what does.

Tamra Ericson Frame plays Lara, David’s wife.  Fan boys (and girls) and sexual deviants may also know her by her duel identity Mandi Steele.  She does a decent enough job, but for being a main character her performance is very wooden and that draws away from the story.  It would have served her and the film well in the form of additional coaching.  Just because you are an attractive, steaming, hot, sexy, beautiful, gorgeous, smoking…err…

I lost my thought.

Just because you are a good looking model doesn’t make you an actress.  I think Cindy Crawford in “Fair Game” taught us that lesson.  If I had advice for Tamra it would be study as much film as possible (just off the top of my head go rent Fried Green Tomatoes or Chocolat).  Just don’t watch the movie, but study the performances of Juliette Binoche and/or Mary Stuart Masterson.

With that said I also blame the director, Mike Conway.  Tamra has the talent she just needs someone to bring that performance to the surface.  Mike's job is to get the best performance out of his actors as possible.  Let’s take him outside and beat him with a whipping stick.


Mike does redeem himself with the rest of the film.  Overall the film was well directed.  He took the script and broke it up very nicely to tell a concise story which may seem easy to you and I, but that’s because Mike made it look easy.  He did a great job with the resources he had.  Mike also doubled as David Andrade turning in a pretty solid performance.

The script!  The movie is based on a concept by Erik Manion who also co-wrote the movie with Mike Conway and Producer Kelly Johnston. Watching the first ten minutes of this film I was getting more and more impressed with how professional it looked, the nice performances, and yes…even the dialogue.  Then the film became a roller coaster ride as the setup fell apart.  The Awakening had some very high points to it (David’s desperation to cure his wife), but as high as the highs could reach the lows went lower (Lara’s costume).  I actually had to fast forward a couple parts because it became a very cliché piece.  With that said let me play Monday Morning Quarterback…or Tuesday Afternoon Movie executive…

I would of lost the costume to start with.  It wasn’t needed.  I understand this is a "comic book" movie and Tamra looks awesome in the outfit, but it reeked of camp.  The jeans and half shirt was fine…very fine…ummm!  EXTREMELY FINE!  I would have made Lara’s character more complex to the fact she is having an internal battle with the very person she is turning into.  Most importantly I would have taken a black marker crossing out all the tongue in cheek lines in the script.  As they say sometimes silence is bliss.  Erik and his co-writers should of sat back thinking how could these lines come out differently instead of sticking with formula.  MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE!  The Dummy! There is a dummy that was dressed as a black ops soldier that was thrown around as if it was being pushed into the air.  What it looked liked was exactly what it was, a dummy dressed as a black ops soldier being thrown into the air.

OK!  Now that everyone involved in the film is boarding a Jet Blue with a hot vat of tar and a bag of feathers on the way to my house I can tell you about the saving grace to the entire project and the DVD itself. Behind the scenes baby!  If there was a reason to make this movie it was the behind the scenes feature.  I can’t recommend it enough for amateur and/or independent filmmakers.  Kelly Johnston specifically stole the show on how he utilized the special effects to make weapon’s fire, three actors become six, and blood and guts spilling everywhere (even out the poor dummy). If you like gorilla filmmaking and want to see some of the industry secrets The Awakening is the DVD for you.

I am rating this DVD twice because I feel very strongly it is worth viewing because of the behind the scenes "stuff".  Of course without the movie we wouldn't have the behind the scenes "stuff".

The Movie: C
Behind the Scenes: B+

You can check out The Awakening trailers and clips from the film and make your own judgement.

The Awakening Trailer #1

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The Awakening Trailer #2

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The Awakening Clip #1

Click on the "Play" Icon to watch the Clip.


The Awakening Clip #2

Click on the "Play" Icon to watch the Clip.


The Awakening Clip #3

Click on the "Play" Icon to watch the Clip.

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Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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