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If I Die Before I Wake

"Even when locked, a door doesn't protect against much..."

Three thieves take control of the home of a family of five while the victims sleep. The father, mother and oldest child are gagged and maltreated while the two youngest girls manage to hide themselves. When the agressors find a picture with the two missing girls, they panic and become more violent: they hit, stab and rape. They take the family hostage to threaten the two runaways.





I hadn’t read about this movie before renting it: not even the back of the packaging. It helped increase my surprise, thankfully.

The introduction is very short. We see each of the five family members, whether they be going about their business or sleeping. Then, we see a close-up of the front door being opened and stopped by a small chain. That is when an ugly face slips in. A few seconds later, the chain is broken and the action starts. In fact, this movie is certainly not defined by action but by suspense.

First of all, the screams of the parents indicate that they are suffering and are scared. Because most of the movie is seeing through the eyes of LoriBeth, our heroine who is in her twenties, we don’t see everything. As opposed to the usual heroines that are afraid of nothing, LoriBeth is very respectable and not at all feminist. It is the first time, I think, that I really sympathize with a hero. Usually, it is obvious that the hero will survive, but this girl doesn't have it easy.

She observes her family being beaten for around twenty minutes in real time, grabbing a baseball bat and waiting a long while. I passed these twenty minutes grinding my teeth in rage. The first half of the movie will have you glued to your seat. However, sadly, the second part could have been better. We can feel a certain laziness and the movie becomes a cliché. The young woman spends way too much time in the chimney; one of the aggressors becomes conscientious, etc.

I have trouble considering Ben Willis (I Know What You Did Last Summer) as a horror movie icon but the actor that plays his role (Muse Watson) also is the leader of the theives and also the most malicious, in my opinion.

The negative parts of the movie are the rapes. I don't know why but humans have no trouble watching murders. On the other hand, rape is taboo, even in movies. I hate rape scenes and don’t know why. In addition, the worse rape of them all is a homosexual rape and I was terribly disgusted. It had as much class as if we had been shown someone crapping while clapping his hands.

Final Thoughts

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Memorables aspects
- Daryl has his eye pierced by a piece of glass.

- Daryl dragging the father by the neck, while enraged, and realizing a few minutes later that he is dead.

- Billy has his face pummelled repeatedly.

Memorables characters

Released in: 1998

Movie type: Horror - Thriller - Drama - Taboos - Coarse Language

Films in similar category:
Scream For Me
In a Glass Cage
The Witch Who Came from the Sea
I Spit on Your Grave
Mulholland Dr.

My evaluation
The users (13639 votes)

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( 2002-01-06 )  

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