Frightfest Glasgow: Wake Up (2024)

Director: Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell, François Simard

Running Time: 80 Minutes

Starring: Turlough Convery, Benny O. Arthur, Jacqueline Moré, Charlotte Stoiber, Thomas Gould, Alessia Yoko Fontana, Aidan O'Hare, Kyle Scudder

Following on from distinctively impressive works such as Turbo Kid and Summer of 84, Wake Up is another terrific entry from the directorial collective known as RKSS (made-up of directors Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell, and François Simard.) The feature begins in attention-grabbing fashion as a masked figure live-streams promising blood-for-blood, urging people to be responsible for how their world is changing.

This rallying call is shared by a group of young activists intent on putting their plan into motion, and it begins as they enter an IKEA-style furniture store before it closes to find hiding places. After the store is shut, the activists emerge to commit vandalism in protest of how the brand is massacring animals and destroying the rainforest. What they did not account for is a security guard with a passion for primitive hunting, as he stalks the trapped activists across a night filled with violence and terror.

Making up the activists are people who believe in the cause with everything they have, and rich kids that hope to go viral while having fun. Tension is felt within the members, particularly as leader Ethan (Benny O. Arthur) is open about how it was not his decision to bring along member Karim (Thomas Gould). One wishes there was more characterization available within this group, although the spiraling situation leaves the fear and frustration to be felt as their previous posturing understandably vanishes. The nightmarish occurrences leaves them to become scared children panicking within a situation more horrific then they could have imagined.

Pursuing the activists with murderous intent is Kevin, the security guard chillingly portrayed by Turlough Convery. He needs his security guard job to fulfil his passion for hunting, caring only for the activity which is regularly dismissed by his brother. The bubbling anger is felt within Kevin as things repeatedly do not go his way, building with considerable tension until events cause him to snap. He becomes intent on silencing the situation through crafty manipulations and makeshift weapons, utilizing his skills honed from killing the environment's creatures against a group whose actions were in support of mother nature.

Across this visually striking feature are excellent examples of pulse-pounding horror, leaving a trail of bodies which encourages the furniture store to change its name to Die-KIA. The stand-out sequence occurs within pitch-black surroundings, as danger threatens to attack from any angle in ways that catch viewers off-guard as much as the activists. Such a magnificent union of contemporary issues, thrilling sequences, and a gleeful mean-spiritedness leaves Wake Up as an effective slasher from a fantastic assortment of filmmakers.

Wake Up made its UK Premiere at Frightfest Glasgow 2024