The plot synopsis reads: when global hysteria ensues after a mysterious catastrophe wipes out all electronics and takes away humanity's ability to sleep, scientists race against the clock to find a cure for unexplained insomnia before its fatal effects eliminate the human race. When Jill, a former soldier, discovers her young daughter may be the key to salvation, she must decide whether to protect her children at all costs or sacrifice everything to save the world."
So what did cause the mass insomnia, does Jill succeed, and is there a cure? Read on to find out. Warning: Awake spoilers ahead.
The movie begins with security guard Jill stealing drugs to sell, before heading to her mother's house for a visit with her children, over whom she's lost custody. Her daughter Matilda and son Noah aren't thrilled about going with their mother, but soon after getting in the car Jill loses control when all its electrics fail.
They get into a crash and their car falls into the water. Jill struggles to get her children out, and when she surfaces sees Matilda on the shore being resuscitated by a police officer.
He explains that electronics are out, and urges them to get to a hospital but when they do its overwhelmed with people and, strangely enough, coma patients begin waking up. Jill brings her kids back to her mother's house where they try to regroup, but that night no one can sleep — except Matilda.
Jill, with the promise of getting double the price for any downers she can provide the drug dealer, goes back to the hospital she works at to steal more but is confronted by her former army boss Murphy, who reveals that there's mass insomnia but one woman can sleep, and they need Jill's help. She refuses but confides in Murphy's son Brian that her daughter was asleep even after the 'event'.
She goes on to the garage where her drug dealer works and finds that he's been murdered by his drug-gang friends. Jill overhears them explain that anything with a microchip is fried, but cars pre-1980s didn't have any so they can still work.
After they leave, she steals a set of keys and grabs an old car before heading to her mother's house, only to find Matilda gone with her mother to the church where the congregants, sleep-deprived and anxious, swiftly turn on each other and even float the idea of sacrificing Matilda to god to help them get to sleep. Brian, Jill, and Noah arrive, and Brian tries to convince them to let Matilda go only to be shot through the eye by a cop.
Panic ensues, and Jill's mother tells Matilda to run; Jill finds Matilda hiding, and along with her son they escape, leaving the grandmother behind. As Jill makes her way to the 'hub' where the other sleep-capable woman is being tested, she tries to teach her daughter how to survive.
On the way they're intercepted by a group of recently released prisoners, one steals their car while the other threatens them. But then the car thief returns and helps them escape.
He says to call him Dodge, and they continue on their way north towards the hub. When they get there, Dodge leaves with the car and Jill instructs Matilda to stay with her brother in an abandoned house that has enough food for a week, and if she doesn't come back to make her way north.
Jill sneaks into the hub and confronts the other woman who can sleep and begs her to take care of Matilda, as the only person who will seemingly survive insomnia. The woman says this is all wrong, and she was supposed to be dead.
Murphy discovers Jill and reveals that they think the insomnia is due to a solar flare that impacted humans' glymphatic system causing our internal clocks to fry which resulted in insomnia. Dodge then arrives on the scene with both kids and they're all kidnapped and Matilda is tested on.
Delirious from lack of sleep (handily cued to viewers by a blurry vignette around the screen) Jill keeps forgetting where she is but manages to free herself even after her equally delirious son tries to kill her.
The other sleeping woman dies, and the scientists begin to panic. Jill struggles to rescue Matilda, but Murphy has a knife to Matilda's throat. However, she begins to slowly die, and Matilda points out that Murphy's assistant didn't clear the syringe of air before injecting Murphy with the drug cocktail.
Murphy dies, and Jill takes Matilda to try and escape. However, they discover Noah who thinks he's gutting a fish but instead is playing with some electronics and fries himself.
Matilda grabs the defibrillator and shocks Noah, but the charge sends her flying and she passes out. When Matilda wakes, Jill is clinging to Noah's seemingly lifeless body only for him to begin to breathe.
Noah loads Jill into the back of a truck, while Matilda fetches a stretcher (for what reason we're not sure) but it gets stuck on the now-dead cop's sheriff badge and she has an epiphany, realising that she can sleep because she had technically died in the car accident. Likewise, Noah was dead before she defibrillated him.
Following this logic, they bring Jill to the water and drown her. They bring her out and Noah begins CPR. The camera zooms in through Jill's lifeless eyes and then goes black. Then, we hear Jill gasp.
So, the moral of the story is there is no cure except to die and hopefully get resuscitated and in the meantime, all of humanity become selfish, murderous bastards. Grim.
Awake is now available to watch on Netflix
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