Dir. Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
From the visionaries behind the Blumhouse smash, THE GALLOWS, comes another refreshing take on the horror genre, this time taking on home invasion thriller through a fresh lens.
When a couple take a vacation in a rental home, little do they anticipate the owner knowing every little secret of their marriage and how unspiralling the cracks reveals much deeper holes in their companionship than they planned to unravel. Bart Johnson and Jill Awbrey (who also wrote the script), tread a fine line between love and hate as the pair fight for survival against someone who is treating them as playthings of torture until the shocking reveal.
At times nasty, the unrelenting tension never lets up and even when the curveball of Arbrey's script takes the characters in a full 180 degree turn with a Shyamalan level twist, the horror never lets up. It's quite a timely and relevant plot device that plays on real world issues tackled sensitively enough to not alienate those it pokes at, giving inward reflection of what it means in 2022 to be in a stable relationship and how far that has evolved since the 20th century.
As with most home invasion films, it's the scales of comfort versus discomfort as someone stalks their prey and have little control or knowledge of what is going on that brings the real levels of suspense and like THE GALLOWS, HELD doesn't quite reinvent the genre but gives it enough fresh coating to give tenured horror fans something to enjoy and talk about long after the credits finish.