For the entire month of April, Cinefessions will be locked into The Asylum, reviewing films released by the famed studio. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout April you will get another review on a film released by The Asylum. April’s podcast will also be devoted to films from The Asylum, and you can decide which three will be reviewed right here. Today, Branden remembers why it’s important to always Hold Your Breath when driving by a cemetery.
As the story goes, if one drives by a cemetery that houses a spirit so evil that even Hell doesn’t want it, holding your breath is the only way to keep the spirit out of your body. If you choose not to hold your breath, then the spirit will take over your body, and continue to do evil. This is the premise of The Asylum’s Hold Your Breath (or #HoldYourBreath for Twitter users). Even though this idea sounds pretty silly, Hold Your Breath is a surprisingly strong film.
Hold Your Breath is about a group of old high-school friends getting back together after college for a weekend camping trip. They agree to a no cell phone weekend, which is little more than a smart, easy plot device to make the rest of the film work. They lock up their cell phones in the SUVs glove box, and head off for a weekend of fun in the sun. On the way, they pass an old cemetery, and Jerry (Katrina Bowden) warns the group that they have to hold their breath, citing the story I mentioned above. The stoner of the group, Kyle (played wonderfully by Seth Cassell), decides to ignore her warning, and a local serial killer takes over his body. There is more to this story, though, as this serial killer’s spirit is able to jump from body to body when he sees fit. The group is faced with the challenge of ridding the world of this evil spirit before they are all picked off one by one.
This film follows a number of the typical slasher film clichés, but it is definitely more of a paranormal horror movie than anything else. The story works pretty well, except for a choice the writers make to reach the climax of the film, but everything else holds together pretty well for a paranormal horror film. The pacing is just right, and story is almost always pushing the plot forward.
There is one actor who stands out in this film as weak, but everyone else is great. They are able to take the mediocre script up a level, and make Hold Your Breath an enjoyable ride. Katrina Bowden, who I love from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and Nurse 3D, is good, but never really stands out from the rest of the pack, which is more of a nod to the rest of the cast than a knock on Bowden. Randy Wayne and Steve Hanks pull of the best performances, and are both actors I look forward to watching again in the future. Hanks plays McBride, the only older character in the film, and he has a grounded presence that brings a sense of gravity to the movie.
Hold Your Breath doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, and it has a few flaws – continuity errors are pretty prevalent throughout, the dialogue writing is mediocre, and the story hits a hiccup towards the end – but as a mindless horror film, this is a pretty fun way to spend an hour and a half. It’s definitely a low-budget horror film, and so some of those expected pitfalls are present, but with a cast this strong, those flaws can easily be overlooked. Hold Your Breath is one of my favorite films I’ve seen from The Asylum so far, and I’d recommend it to fans of this subgenre.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.