This article contains major spoilers for the Awake ending. The film is now streaming on Netflix.
Even after audiences have finished watching Awake, it’s likely that there are still a number of questions that have gone unanswered.
After a solar flare happened on earth, it caused most of the population to no longer have the ability to sleep. Alongside that, it also stopped all electronics from working. Whilst there isn’t much more explanation than that, Awake doesn’t need to go into depth into what has caused the catastrophic event.
As in the case of most “end of the world” movies, civilians immediately start to act crazy. There are naked people in the street and escaped convicts roaming around. The most vital piece of craziness in the world occurs in the church during the first quarter of the film. Psychologist Brian (played by Finn Jones) appears to be one of the film’s major players until he gets shot dead by a lunatic after people start to learn that Matilda (played by Ariana Greenblatt) can still sleep.
Matilda, alongside her mother who is also an ex-drug addict and ex-soldier (played by Gina Rodriguez) and brother Noah (played by Lucius Hoyos), flee and begins a car journey to The Hub where they hope Matilda can be tested in the hope of a cure.
Eventually arriving at The Hub, Jill is reunited with her former colleague, Dr. Murphy (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh), who wants to cut off Matilda’s head. Despite her lack of sleep causing her to imagine that Noah wants to kill her, Jill fights back against Dr. Murphy. Ultimately, it’s Dr. Katz (played by Gill Bellows), who after having a change of heart injects Dr. Murphy. The syringe still has an air bubble which in turn causes Dr. Murphy to die, therefore saving Matilda.
Meanwhile, as the soldiers have started to lose their minds from lack of sleep, they begin shooting everyone and everything in The Hub. Noah meanwhile accidentally electrocutes himself whilst imagining that he is cutting into a fish.
With almost everyone dead, Jill is cradling Noah’s dead body whilst Matilda watches. Matilda sees Noah’s eye move and realizes he has come back to life. With Jill closer to death, Noah and Matilda realize that to survive without sleep, you must die. Turns out that Matilda had died in the car crash in the opening moments of Awake. This is why she could fall asleep unlike everyone else in the film.
Noah and Matilda drag their mother to a lake and hold her underwater. Dragging out her at the last moment, they perform CPR on her. Just as Awake cuts to black, we hear Jill gasping for life.
So it turns out that in Awake, you need to die and be resurrected to survive. Quite a simple ending that is shown so effectively, that it may convince audiences to give Awake a second watch.