Held is a 2020 American horror feature film about a couple that is being kept hostage in an isolated vacation rental by an unseen Voice.
Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (The Gallows; The Gallows Act II) from a screenplay written by Jill Awbrey, who also stars, the Tremendous Pictures production also stars Bart Johnson, Rez Kempton and Zack Gold.
Emma and Henry’s marriage is losing its spark. In an effort to reconnect on their nine-year anniversary, they vacation to a remote luxury rental, complete with automated smart house features and integrated security. After suspecting a nighttime intruder, however, they decide to flee, only to become forcibly trapped inside by the all-encompassing technology.
Then a Voice tells them their entire movements are being watched, revealing intimate knowledge about their relationship. As events get more brutal and dehumanizing, Emma and Henry must work together to uncover the truth and find a way out before it’s too late…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“A few individual moments in Held are attention-getting, and directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (The Gallows) certainly keep the pace moving. There just isn’t enough here storywise or character-wise to make the picture anywhere near as exciting or stirring as it obviously wants to be.” The Aisle Seat
“At the heart of Held’s horror is the warped notion that good is being done to protect the sanctity of marriage. It takes a little too long for this aspect to come to the boil, but once out in the open, the film doesn’t labour with its pointed comment on the extreme lengths ‘men’ will go to sustain the patriarchy. Leaving the audience to think on whether men can ever be trusted.” BritFlicks
“Held is an interesting and gripping film. I’ve seen other films tackle a similar concept but none of them have been as successful as this one. Emma and Henry are characters you root for, and they’re exceptionally well written. You may predict the outcome of the film but even if you do, it won’t ruin your enjoyment.” Entertainment Focus
“Directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing (The Gallows) wring every drop of tension out of the premise. There is also a fascinating juxtaposition between the modern technology holding them captive and the antiquated, patriarchal views of marriage the Voice seeks to impart. This juxtaposition really helps to sell the reveal as to the source of the horror.” FlickFeast
“As fascinating as the gender play is, Held suffers from a mild case of perceiving itself to be smarter than it is. The direction in which it veers towards in the end is signposted fairly early on, and its reveal is not as shocking as intended. Overall though, Held has enough within it to hold your attention and is a welcome step forward from Cluff and Lofing’s earlier work.” The Hollywood News
“The big reveal that eventually occurs shifts the narrative in an entirely different direction that bears more than a little debt to The Stepford Wives, even as the proceedings veer into more graphically violent, horror-tinged territory. Held doesn’t fully realize its considerable thematic ambitions, and to say that its fantastical storyline isn’t logical is an understatement.” The Hollywood Reporter
” …insistently focuses on marriage issues, taking a swerve into the satirical with a villain who rails against feminism and political correctness. It has a cool, polished look – somehow, the all mod cons home with only healthy food in the fridge and modest clothes in the wardrobe turns out to be one of the scariest environments in the movies.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“While the concept around the film is interesting the entire execution was terrible. From the acting to the direction to the entire journey just being completely problematic, the movie is rough to watch.” Music City Drive-In
“Held is a smart genre flick that is unashamed of its roots and embraces its limitations with gusto. Kinetic in execution and tangibly retro in its mindset it packs a savage Hitchcockian twist that lands with style and conviction. It is the type of film that in simpler, less content-saturated times would have been a word of mouth spoiler sensitive sensation.” The People’s Movies
“There is a distinct suggestion from the man behind the curtain in Held that obedience and structure are key to a successful marriage, and it almost sounds desperate to get back to the values of the past. I don’t know if Awbrey is warning us of those attitudes or showing them up as ridiculous, but there is certainly an element of satire here.” Ready Steady Cut!
“Cluff and Lofing manage to create some incredible tension within a context that we’ve essentially seen done many times, and luckily, the story takes enough unique turns to keep it on the right track. Without relying on jump scares, Held keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the running time, even after we’ve found out what’s going on.” Starburst
” …Held plays out as a dark allegory of the marital bond. For here, the weekend which Emma and Henry were already hoping would be a blast of marriage therapy for them turns out to come with a sadistic stranger self-appointed in the rôle of therapist, even if his methodology – firm guidance in how a wedded couple should appear, act, eat and “make love”, as well as the direct addressing of past errancy.” VODzilla
Held had its world premiere at the virtual Arrow Video FrightFest on October 21st 2020.
Cast and characters:
Jill Awbrey … Emma Barrett
Bart Johnson … Henry Barrett
Rez Kempton … Joe
Zack Gold … Ryan Sullivan
Jener Dasilva … Graham
Tessa Munro … Beth
Porchea Carroll … Valerie
Liz Fenning … Jane
Paul Mischeshin … Daniel
Christian Telesmar … Mark
Paul Pavelski … Video Husband
Megan Scortino … Video Wife