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I hope you're sitting down:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (October 23, 2007) –On November 30th, “Awake” will debut in theaters nationwide exposing the horrifying, true-life surgical event known as “anesthetic awareness.”  In “Awake” a patient's failed anesthesia leaves him fully conscious but physically paralyzed during surgery. The patient's new wife is forced to struggle with her own demons as a terrifying drama unfolds around the couple.  Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen, Terrence Howard, Lena Olin and Fisher Stevens star in the psychological thriller which is written and directed by Joby Harold. 

Now, it's true that quality films have been made from shakier premises. But rarely. And I hope it's not remiss of me to point out that Jessica Alba wrestling with her demons is unlikely to be much of a draw unless she is doing it in a tub of jello while wearing a bikini. Then there's this:

"This film will do to surgery what 'Jaws' did to swimming in the ocean," said Deutch/Open City Films co-founder and producer Joana Vicente.

This seems to me rather unlikely: As horrible as anesthetic awareness undoubtedly is, it doesn't fire the cinematic imagination in quite the same way as the thought of being bitten in half by a monster shark. But the deeper problem with the producer's enthusiastic comparison is that unlike swimming in the ocean--which tends to be an elective activity--surgery is something people generally undertake for very good reasons. A movie that dissuades folks from getting medical attention isn't really doing them any favors. But never fear:

Joby Harold stated, ".... The prospect of being conscious during surgery elicits a visceral response in everyone, and I can't wait for audiences to join us on this unique, fun ride." 

I'll grant them "unique."

--Christopher Orr