A married couple, Emma (Jill Awbrey) and Henry (Bart Johnson) are attempting to re-spark their rocky marriage by renting a remote house. In Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff’s new movie Held, their plans for a weekend of relaxation and romance quickly go awry.
Held proceeds with Mrs. Barret arriving at the getaway house via a driver named Joe. upon pulling up to the house, he expresses the confusion of Barret meeting her husband at a home so isolated from everyone — the perfect setup to get away from distractions.
The scene progresses to her walking into the house with roses and a lovely note from her husband. Henry was already there having arrived earlier to set the mood and unwind. As the night proceeds, Emma eventually goes to bed early.
But, she later awakes and also shakes Henry out of his deep slumber only to see the room is completely different than when the two closed their eyes for the night. The eeriness of Held picked up as Emma notices not only is there coffee on the nightstand — which neither she nor Henry put there — she’s in a different nightgown and Henry in new clothes as well.
Quickly the suspense of Held increased as Henry attempted to reach the property manager of the home only to be greeted by a menacing voice on the other end stating, “Obey us.”
Like most thrillers, random activities happen: the television turns on displaying surveillance of the home, doors are locked and windows barred as well. As if one phone call wasn’t enough, the phone rings again telling Emma and Henry they will not leave the house and that they must obey.
The phone chants “YOU MUST OBEY. YOU MUST OBEY,” repeatedly.
The intensity of the demands and voices increases as the narrative progresses in Held. Demands start blasting out of the speakers in the home. They tell Emma to put on makeup, smile, prepare dinner, and other stereotypical commands for a wife. The voice demands similar tropes for being a better husband to Herny, like opening the door, giving her gifts, and complimenting Emma.
The need for Emma and Henry to reconnect really was put upfront as the voice help to reveal Emma had an affair. The unknown voice continues to be loud and demanding poking her to share with Henry what happens.
But, without giving away too many spoilers, Held gets progressively more violent and has twist I didn’t see coming.
In the end, viewers find out why these voices were so commanding. For me, the reasoning — which I don’t want to spoil for you — was an interesting touch as it added a deeper meaning and sociological aspect to the thriller. This movie contains more aspects of a psychological thriller than a traditional horror movie. The isolation of a couple reminds me of other films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Strangers. In fact, this felt very similar to the Strangers. Overall I think Held was a good film.