A Nightmare Wakes (2020) Movie Review


Director: Nora Unkel

Writer: Nora Unkel (Screenplay)

Starring: Alix Wilton Regan, Philippe Bowgen, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Lee Garrett, Claire Glassford, Shannon Spangler, Nicholas Freeland Clark

Plot: An adaptation of the novel “Frankenstein,” as told through the life of Mary Shelley. As she creates her masterpiece, she gives birth to a monster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: A Nightmare Wakes starts as Mary Shelley (Regan) is expecting her first child with husband Percy (Gioiello), a moment of happiest, that ends in tragedy. Mary caught up in the nightmares of what happened finds herself drawn to the competition set out between friends, Lord Bryon (Bowgen), Dr John Polidori (Garrett), Claire Clairmont (Glassford) and Harriet (Spangler). The competition is to write a horror story, where she finds inspiration for the Frankenstein character.

As Mary continues to get involved in her novel, she starts to believe her own life is spiralling out of control, with her husband moving further away from her and her newborn child being more difficult for her to handle.

Thoughts on A Nightmare Wakes

Characters & Performances – Mary Shelley is the soon-to-be mother, wife to a poet and nowhere near the iconic author we know today. She loses her child and turns to a competition to scare each other, creating a nightmare that she must live through during her next pregnancy. One that would see her start to lose grip on reality each day, but be inspired to write more. Alix Wilton Regan does give us a strong performance, balancing the struggles of child loss and the consumption of nightmares. When we jump into meeting the rest of the characters, we have the distant husband Percy, along with his high society writing friends, that would rather spend more time exploring ghost stories than doing anything else.

StoryThe story here follows Mary Shelley as she suffers her own personal tragedy, which in turns gives birth to one of the most famous horror novels of all time. We get to meet the woman behind the novel, looking into what helped her create the characters, which has lasted generations in the horror world. The story does get to explore tragedy in life, showing how Mary struggled with her own loss, with this horror world being her outlet to cope. With the serious side of the story all under way, we can get caught up in the middle of the high society life, which is a side to life, which is never interesting to see anymore. The story is saved by the journey Mary goes on, where we never quite know what is real or what is in her head.

ThemesA Nightmare Wakes does have elements on horror with the nightmares Mary goes through to help her discover the characters, some are living nightmares, which will bring more into reality. The settings and costume design, will takes us back to the era when the book was written, having the characters away from the everyday people, looking down on the world around them.


A Nightmare Wakes is a slow building nightmare vision, bringing to life the unsettled mind of Mary Shelley.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply