The Movie Waffler First Look Review - THE AWAKENING OF LILITH | The Movie Waffler


The Awakening of Lilith review
A woman's mind begins to unravel following the loss of a loved one.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Steven Adam Renkovish

Starring: Brittany Renée, Justin Livingston, Mary Miles Kokotek

The Awakening of Lilith poster

After a slow and laboured beginning, this movie picks up a better rhythm around 20 minutes in, and then settles in to tell us the story of Lilith (Brittany Renee), a tormented woman in the throes of grief.

We learn via flashbacks that her partner died recently, and she blames herself.

We discover the fraught relationship she shares with her mum, which is unfortunately explored using a painfully talky scene near the beginning of the film that only serves to slow the narrative to an almost complete stop, and the numerous voice overs and frequent soliloquies.

The Awakening of Lilith review

The relationship she mourns is clearly dysfunctional, with several flashbacks showing her partner Noah (Justin Livingston) to be short tempered, with an aggressive nature. The ‘cute couple’ photographs that adorn her home show her gazing at him adoringly while he stares into the distance, pissed off and sullen.

She attempts to reconnect with people from her Church group, but they seem to be judgmental and unsupportive, and she finds herself the victim of violent fantasies that involve them when she’s in their presence.

As she makes her way through her grief, so her sense of reality is pushed into less trustworthy places, and the truth of what happened to Noah is revealed.

The Awakening of Lilith is the feature film debut of writer and director Steven Adam Renkovish, and I must commend him on some of the staging; the atmosphere is well-realised and some shots are beautifully framed.

I like the inclusion of classical music on the soundtrack, with both Mozart and Vivaldi featuring; I also really dug the ‘bloody orange’ scene.

Unfortunately, that’s where the good stuff ends.

The Awakening of Lilith review

This deep dive into self-important misery really isn't substantial enough for a full-length film, and it feels overlong; even at less than an hour and a half it struggled to hold my attention.

Personally, I enjoy horror movies with subtexts that explore deeper emotions such as grief, loneliness and fear.

For this reason, I relish Relic, Hereditary, The Babadook and The Blackcoats Daughter, just to name a few; but those films also have fully fleshed-out storylines, and understand that intriguing and entertaining the audience are vital parts of a good film. There is a world of difference between a film like The Babadook, which on its surface is about a monster tormenting a mother and son, but underneath is about mental health and grief; and a film like this one, that is only about the grief.

The Awakening of Lilith review

After watching this, I looked up other reviews online and was surprised to find them more positive than I had expected. Maybe it just didn’t work for me.

I wish I could say the acting was good, but it wasn’t terribly believable in my opinion.

I wish I could say this made me feel something, but frankly I found it all a bit boring.

I wish I could say I liked it as much as my fellow reviewers did, but I didn’t.

I wish I could recommend it.

But I can’t.

The Awakening of Lilith is currently on the festival circuit.

2021 movie reviews