film reel image

film reel image

Friday, July 23, 2021

Held 2020 * * 1/2 Stars


"You will not leave the house again". Alright-y. Sounds like a hoot. Those are the words spoken by an evil voice in 2020's Held. The house in question is really state of the art. Still, I'd avoid hanging out there the minute I entered. The female lead in Held (Jill Awbrey) didn't heed that advice.

Anyway, Held is about a married couple on the outs who become trapped in a rental space via the middle of nowhere. Oh and it gets better. They have a tracking device implanted in them that shocks them if they try anything funny.

Released in April of this year, directed by two dudes (Travis Cluff, Cliff Lofing), and containing acting that's kinda subpar, Held is pretty creepy from the get-go. We don't know why these spouses are being forced against their will and we don't know why the antagonist knows so much about their personal lives. As for Held's look, well it's sterile and clean as Cluff and Lofing shoot the film with a sense of pristine voyeurism. There's spy cameras in the house, a crawl space, and a secret room with a 60s vibe (just look at the darn television set).

Now is Held effective in its first and partially second act? Oh for sure. I was a little perturbed by it. Is the twist that comes near the end of Held the icing on the cake? Uh not quite.

Held's gotcha conclusion (which you can kinda see coming) takes away some of the dramatic momentum. You want hubby and consort to be trapped in their abode Oldboy-style but that doesn't really come to fruition. Held turns into just another rote thriller where the female heroine escapes by killing a couple of scumbags in self-defense. In truth, I was only "held" in suspense for the flick's first hour (of a 95-minute running time). When I figured out what was really going on with this warped form of marriage counseling, I just "checked out".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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