"Don't lie to your significant other" is the not-so-urgent lesson of "Wake."
“Don’t lie to your significant other” is the not-so-urgent lesson of “Wake.” A creaky exercise in couple’s therapy dressed up as a psychological thriller, this writing-directing debut by “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane” producer Chad Feehan generates some creepy atmosphere with its tale of surreal intrigue at a desert motel. But it soon becomes clear the goings-on have been engineered to convict the protagonist of his dark fratboy past — which, along with an easily foreseeable twist, drains much of the tension from an already laborious scenario. Beyond fests, “Wake” looks unlikely to find a vacancy in the marketplace.
While driving with g.f. Adrienne (Jamie-Lynn Sigler, “The Sopranos,” “Entourage”) from Texas to Los Angeles, Paul (Ed Norton lookalike Josh Stewart) nearly wrecks their car. Exhausted, the two check into a motel, only to have increasingly awkward run-ins with the motel clerk (Chris Browning), his wife (Angela Featherstone) and a well-dressed weirdo (Afemo Omilami), ominously referred to in the credits as “the Man,” who insistently calls forth Paul’s guilty secret. Flashback-heavy structure only spotlights the story’s quasi-supernatural lumberings, though the thesps (especially Sigler) show commitment. Tech credits are fine.