Review: ‘Held’ lacks the cleverness and panache to land stinging social satire

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There’s one thing significantly irritating a couple of horror film that has an important premise, poorly executed. The house invasion thriller “Held” begins out with a genuinely good thought: mixing the “obey an unseen grasp” gimmick of “Noticed” with the “find out how to be an ideal partner” social satire of “The Stepford Wives.” However it lacks the cleverness or the panache to present its schtick the correct zing.

Jill Awbrey wrote the “Held” script and likewise stars as Emma, a lady wanting ahead to a soothing retreat at a distant rental house together with her husband Henry (Bart Johnson). The place they’re staying is elegant and fashionable, with high-tech home equipment and safety techniques . It additionally — unbeknownst to Emma — comes with its personal masked creep, who pops out at night time to drug and imprison the visitors.

When the couple wakes up after their first woozy night, their garments have been modified to one thing extra conservative and so they’ve been locked in. Quickly, the masked man barks orders, demanding they confront their failures as husband and spouse — and that they playact as an old style household with the girl subservient to the person.

Awbrey and the film’s co-directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing take time to ascertain a sample of sexist harassment towards Emma: from a ride-share driver who pressures her for a tip to the way in which Henry appears to take her without any consideration. Emma’s weird predicament is actually an amplification of the heavy expectations that weigh on her daily.

Whereas the heroine’s circumstances are moderately well-drawn, the remainder of “Held” is under-imagined — and fairly predictable. The “perfect couple” workouts Emma and Henry get pushed into aren’t exaggerated sufficient to be as nightmarishly unsettling as they need to be and the plot’s large twist is simple to see coming. Even when the movie takes a violent flip, these scenes aren’t particularly thrilling or disturbing.

This film’s most fascinating parts are within the setup. As soon as the characters are in the home and the entice will get sprung, the story stalls. Given what it’s about, “Held” might’ve lower a lot deeper. As an alternative, it barely breaks the floor.


Not rated

Operating time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

Taking part in: Begins April 9, Vineland Drive-in, Metropolis of Business; and in restricted launch the place theaters are open; additionally out there on digital and VOD;


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