Friday, March 29, 2013

"Hold Your Breath" Movie Review – Watch Out When Driving by Cemeteries

Runtime: 87 minutes
Release Date: October 5, 2012
Rating: R
Director: Jared Cohen

A group of pretty young late teens/early twenty-somethings decide to take a camping trip in the woods and go to a big concert together. They all attended high school and graduated together, and doing one group thing in the summer is part of their ritual. Johnny (Randy Wayen, "The Haunting of Molly Hartley") decides that everyone needs to sacrifice their cell phones, and he locks the phones in the glove box.

When they start driving by a ramshackle cemetery, Jerry (Katrina Bowden, ("Piranha 3DD") warns them that they should all hold their breath or risk being possessed by evil spirits. Oddly enough, this is an old urban legend that I learned from The Baby-Sitters Club series of books when I was a kid. Their stoner friend takes a large hit and begins choking, which leads to him inhaling as they pass by and inhale one of those spirits.

If this movie actually came out in October, which is the official release date, I want to know who was hoarding all the copies! After watching one trailer, I knew that I wanted to see more, but it didn't pop up here until a few weeks ago. Now that I've seen it, I have to say that I actually liked it even if it is pretty cheesy.

The stoner manages to let the spirit of a multiple murder get into his body, and that killer goes on a rampage. This leads to some fun elements like him attacking a police officer and an interesting execution method, which involves electricity. The other friends decide to take a trip and look for help since their car broke down, and they wind up investigating an old mental hospital. We get the requisite shots of a couple sneaking off to engage in some fun, and some gratuitous scares after one friend sneaks away from the group. We even get some funny scenes that involve the jock/asshat of the group freaking out when he winds up chained to a real electric chair.

Horror movies from Asylum get a bad reputation, but I freaking love them. They did a smart job of casting Bowden, who in recent months went from the stereotypical blond bombshell to a woman with the potential to be a real scream queen. She still has some work to do, but she's as entertaining here as she is in "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil." Seth Cassell aka Kyle aka stoner friend is another standout in the film. He goes from playing the funny loser friend to a man possessed by a serial killer who can't stop killing and then back to a stoner after the ghost leaves. He looks so confused about what happened that you can actually buy him in the role.

Like most Asylum films, "Hold Your Breath" suffers from some problems. The ending is so bad that I actually found myself wincing and praying that it would end quickly. The film quickly goes from a fun and slightly cheesy film to one that is over the top and so cheesy that you might need some wine by the time the credits roll. I still enjoyed myself though, and it gave me faith in Asylum again.

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