2015, Movies

Awaken aka A Perfect Vacation (2015, Mark Atkins)

Is this where B-movie (and C-movie) actors go to die? This movie features

  • Darryl Hannah (though she has few lines)
  • Edward Furlong (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Vinnie Jones (but of course)
  • Jason London (!!!)
  • The Robert Davi (seriously!)
  • David Keith (!) and
  • Christa Campbell (you’d know her to see her)

And some other familiar faces, all surrounding one “Natalie Burn,” the star, who also co-wrote (with four other people), co-produced and cast the film and is responsible for the auto-tuned voice during the theme song over the closing credits. Here is the first paragraph of her imdb biography:

Natalie Burn is a fast-rising Hollywood actress, dancer, Prima Ballerina, choreographer, writer, singer, composer and a producer who has a résumé that is genuinely unique. Currently Ms Burn is partnering up with Wesley Snipes to produce “59 Rows of Teeth” written by W. Peter Iliff. Recently starring in “Awaken”, a feature film that she created and produced, co-starring Darryl Hannah, Vinnie Jones, Robert Davi and Edward Furlong, Ms. Burn has also had key roles in “Expendables 3” with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Banderas and Harrison Ford where she played the wife of Mel Gibson, she also appears in “Killer Mermaid/Nymph” with Franco Nero, “Criminal” with Jordi Molla , Kevin Costner, and Tommy Lee Jones , in “Mechanic Resurrection” with Jason Statham and Jessica Alba. As well as having lead roles in “Karla”, “Downhill” and “The Ghosts of Garip” in addition to prominent spots in several other films and TV series. But it’s her path to Hollywood that sets her apart from other actresses of her generation.

(I encourage you to check out her “key” roles in those movies on IMDB or, if you can handle it, by watching the films.)

If you thought only men could produce horribly low-budget vanity action projects, well, think again. This woman struggles so hard with her phony American accent at times I wasn’t sure if the character was supposed to be American or Ukrainian.

Here are some other fun facts:

  • This film is set on some tropical islands, but was clearly filmed in the woods and hills around Los Angeles. (And, yes, on a beach somewhere, albeit briefly).
  • The plot is one of those “strangers wake up suddenly in a strange place” tropes that has been used to death in the last decade.
  • The entirety of the plot is explained away by the 47th minute.
  • The film contains some unbelievable dialogue, such as one character saying 44 days equals 2 months – how exactly? is that a joke? nobody knows! – and the lead character looking for wood in a forest and then pronouncing that she’s found some.
  • The exterior of the house that is the scene of the climax is CGI’d onto some tropical island nobody actually went to.

I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

This movie isn’t entirely awful. The twist on the familiar formula is rather obvious but one I haven’t encountered before. And the numerous character actors in the film all acquit themselves well enough. But, mostly, it’s a piece of garbage.


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