Confused and tired, a woman wakes up in a man's apartment with his arms around her. She tries to make sense of the situation, but before too long he attacks her. And kills her. She wakes up again in his apartment, with his arm around her, and it's about to happen again...
Conceptually wicked, "Wake Up and Die" had me pumped from reading the bare synopsis on the back. Like a "Groundhog Day" for serial killers (or their victims, rather), "Wake Up and Die" is a movie that I believe will be remembered by those who see it for the idea alone. Whether the movie manages to take fully advantage of its interesting concept doesn't matter much in that sense, though it's important for a movie that essentially starts over and over again to be able to truly deliver the idea from start to finish.
"Wake Up and Die" fits perfectly as a title, as our protagonist wakes up and dies. Over and over again. In the same apartment, by the same man. She wakes up after a bad dream, drugged up and with no memory how she got there. She has a guy's arm around her, and they're both nude. As they wake up, she's trying to remember how she got there, while the guy is preparing to kill her. And succeeds. The woman wakes up, yet again, in the same bed, but this time she's scared from the get go - she knows what's waiting. And gets killed again. She starts to pick up pieces about this man every time she wakes up, and begins to use the information against him to hopefully get out of there alive.
I think this is a great concept. Much like a movie that only stays in a small space, the entire point of the movie is to see how creative the filmmakers are. It's taking something very small and building it into something deeply intense. "Wake Up and Die" does this in its first 20 minutes, but it doesn't manage to fully use the concept because our lead doesn't always seem to use the pieces she picks up. And those that we know that she picks up on, are those that we also know exactly how and when they will be used, thus defeating the surprise that's needed. Things like using information about his dominant mother was way too obvious from the start. None of this means that the movie is terrible - I got enough entertainment out of it to enjoy my time rather than feel regret. It's certainly a title worthy of a watch if you enjoy the concept idea.
The movie has plenty of sleazy moments, not to mention they both run around naked most of the movie. At times we see their bottom area, but not that much. We do, however, see plenty of boobies, which might keep a few men's attention. But it also works in favor of the movie's situation, making it feel more exposed and harder to get through, and it definitely amps up the sleaze. The gore isn't lacking either, but it's not a lot. We simply don't need more than a few blood scenes to be happy in a movie like this. It's not something you watch for the effects anyway.
The editing was rather annoying during kills and whenever it was time for her to wake up again. Way too stylized, but in a way that came off as an amateur trying out different things available in the program used. It didn't seem like a thought out idea as much as spontaneous experimenting. It pulled me out of the movie more than I expected, which is odd considering what an unimportant part of the movie it is. There are some cuts during action shots that lacks a certain power too, but that's nitpicking.
The concept is good, but "Wake Up and Die" doesn't take it to the lengths I felt required. It never became a psychological puzzle of our lead woman trying to get out of the situation, it was rather her messing about. Some info she used wisely, some stuff seemed to just get ignored. The things she used most effectively was stuff we had already predicted and thus no sense of achievement was felt. It gets a bit tiresome, there's no doubt there. But I did enjoy "Wake Up and Die" enough to encourage people that are interested in the idea to check it out. It might not be the best movie you see this year, but I highly doubt it will be the worst.