Maybe one of the saddest thing that can befall a filmmaker is when they spend months or longer making a movie and then for whatever reason, it ends up sitting on the shelf for years.
That’s what happened with director Mike Flanagan’s Before I Wake (previously called Somnia), which was made with Relativity before they got sidelined with bankruptcy and their entire release schedule got delayed. In the meantime, Flanagan (who directed 2014’s Oculus) went on to make two other movies: Hush, which has been playing on Netflix for months, and Ouija: Origin of Evil, a prequel to the 2014 Universal and Blumhouse horror hit.
Starring Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane and Jacob Tremblay, Before I Wake most recently played the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal this past July and was scheduled to be released September 9, when it was delayed in favor of the appropriately titled The Disappointments Room (which had also been sitting on the shelf for years).
When LRM spoke with Flanagan for his upcoming horror prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil, we asked him if he knew anything more about when we might see Before I Wake here in North America.
“I haven’t heard anything,” he told us.
“We did make that movie right after Oculus and well before Hush was even an idea, and we delivered the film right after post on that, I think in 2014, and it hasn’t changed a frame since we delivered it. We’ve had four release dates come and go. Relativity, they’ve had a very public financial crisis over the last few years, which is what’s been tying it up. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I read about Kavanagh selling Relativity in the trades yesterday like everybody else, so it was news to me. I wish I knew more. I actually just purchased a copy of it on Blu-ray from Italy where it’s already been released theatrically and is on home video in a number of foreign countries. I finally just bought one on Amazon Italy, just to have it in my collection.”
“That’s one of the more frustrating and heartbreaking things can happen to a movie, especially when the delays are not the movie’s fault,” he continued. “It’s been really frustrating but I’m hoping as Relativity continues to try to get their feet on solid ground and stand back up after the bankruptcy, I’m hoping they’ll do right by the film and give it the release that they had promised to give it. I wish I had more updates, but I don’t know much more than anyone else at this point.”
“I’m very happy with the movie the way it is,” he responded when asked whether having more money or time to work on it, he might want to make changes after two years. “I actually have a real special place in my heart for that movie and there’s nothing about it that I would change other than I would change its title back to Somnia, which was my preferred title. Other than that, my only grievance with the film is that its audience didn’t get a chance to see it, but it’s got an extraordinary performance from little Jacob Tremblay in there. We shot the movie before he went off and did Room, and I’m afraid he’s going to have a beard and a moustache by the time we finally release it. I’m very proud of the film as it is. Each movie is its own little bubble, its own little universe. It starts and then is chaotic and wonderful, and then it ends, and that one has been over for a long time. When I get to watch it now, it’s the closest thing I get to being able to get to experience the movies the way you guys do. With that much distance, I get to watch the movie. It just takes years to be able to watch it, so I love watching it. I’m really proud of it, and I hope someday it will find its way out into the world. We make movies for their audiences, it’s the only reason we’re here, so a movie without an audience, I’m not really sure what it is. It’s sad.”
Ouija: Origin of Evil will open on Friday, October 21. Look for the full interview with Flanagan sometime before then.