Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Get Over the Freakishness and Take Note of the Message

Awakened: Hear No Evil
Starring Rob Boltin, Gwendolyn Edwards, Michael Monks and Hannah Hughes;
Directed by Brian R. Reed and Eugene Cuveas
Released by Word Entertainment LLC in 2016

This movie is a Christian version of a Hollywood ‘suspense’ or ‘thriller’, but clearly without the budget. The photography is not bad at all, and the actors certainly do a good job. It’s the writing and the plot line that leaves something to be desired when competing in this field. But the intended message is clear.
For Christians, the demons portrayed aren’t exactly what many may have in mind, but the one selected – a seductive voice from a now-dead singer – gets the message across that demons can ruin a life if you let them. As I watched it, it seemed that two other parallel imprisonments may well have been portrayed by this ‘demon’ – the captivity of pornography, or the haunting of one’s past adulterous relationship. No matter what it is that has one in a debilitating mental grip, this movie shows us there is hope if we really want to be free.
When a recently unemployed husband (Jacob, played by Rob Boltin) stays in their newly rented used house while his wife is at work, he discovers an old ‘reel to reel’ recording of a beautiful singer he is later told died in a car accident during a torrential downpour, just moments after having a fight with her lover. Of course, he is mesmerized by her voice and determines to find out all he can about her. After all, he was an investigative journalist. But when you combine the recording with his passion to investigate the woman behind the voice, somehow an evil spirit emerges that preoccupies his every thought and soon changes him, eventually to the point where he would do whatever it took to gain revenge for the dead singer.
It would be nice if demons just affected those that attract them, but they don’t. They have a way of wreaking havoc on their loved ones as well and it is not long before Jacob’s wife, Haley (played by Gwendolyn Edwards) starts to sense there’s something wrong. Jacob tells her what is going on and she begs him to just get rid of the recording – to destroy it.  But he does not and continues his pursuit.
Eventually Haley freaks out when Jacob starts behaving in very unloving ways and when she herself experiences the demon while alone in the house. The plot includes a close friend of Haley’s who warns her of something unhealthy going on and sensing the darkness present in their home.  Sometimes God uses our good friends to give us a heads up. And then Haley catches Jacob lying to her.  Things go from bad to worse. Her marriage was now to the point of looming self-destruction. Now what? This is the time to turn to the faith in which she had been brought up -- first to save herself, but hopefully also Jacob, and thus their marriage. It was a long-shot. With the help of her local pastor where she starts attending church again, Haley and the movie’s audience are treated to a lesson on the difference between Biblical demons and the ghosts and ghouls portrayed in movies.
The movie however has much more character than that with a most interesting plot that one should not give away in any review. Somehow there’s much more to her death than people were willing to share. For starters, an illegally obtained police report indicates it was an accident, but Jacob is convinced that the report was ‘just another dead end’. The demon comes and convinces him that it was indeed murder -- the singer, Carol (played by Hannah Hughes) had been killed and Jacob was hell-bent on avenging her .
Suffice it to say, the pastor tells Haley that God can “awaken” people in the time of their greatest need when lies are ruining their life, and thus the title of the movie. There’s no doubt, the movie wants to drive home the message that spiritual forces (both good and bad) are out there, but it is those working with and through God that end up victorious.
Running approximately 93 minutes, the DVD rated for all audiences of 12 and over, is available on line and through Christian Book and DVD retailers. It’s a great discussion starter on the topic of spiritual warfare.  Recommended.

--  By Ken B. Godevenos, President, Accord Resolutions Services Inc., Toronto, Ontario, September 05, 2016. www.accordconsulting.com

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