Directed by David A. Cross
[screener via MTI Home Video]
Do you know how many indie horror movies are made every year?
Actually, I don't really know but I think it's quite alot. Some get decent distribution, while others slowly descent into dollar bin hell. I say this because I probably wouldn't have heard or seen Respire without a help of MTI's PR arm.
But I always give a fair shake for indie horror and so I loaded up the movie while I was waiting for my pizza to arrive.
Respire is clearly an indie production with full scale DIY. I would say it's a mid budget for an indie film. It's clearly ambitious with a story revolving around a mysterious box that holds secrets that unfold throughout the film. The thing about a film that tries too hard, is well it tries too hard. Respire treads on so many horror genres, it felt like like a movie montage. Mystery, thriller, slasher and infection subgenres are blended into a decent coherent film.
The Ancient Romans believed that the soul escaped one's body with the last breath. It was believed that last breath held the power to cure disease and prolong life. In 1930's, Dr. Robert Kaminsky devoted his life to finding out how to harness the power in the last breath. Susan Jordan owns a local novelty shop. One item in her shop, an antique box once owned by Doctor Kaminsky, draws the interest of two men: Raif Collins who hopes it's contents can save his dying sister, and Alex Poe whose motives are more mysterious. Susan quickly finds herself in a perilous struggle to protect the box and the secrets that it holds.
The opening montage is a credit to the film as a whole. We see our mysterious box go from our the doctor to various people before it gets to our dear Susan. From USSR, to Americans soldiers, to some hippies in the 60s, to the disco 70s and to the garage sale present day, our box had quite a journey.
The box contains the work of Dr. Kaminsky who has developed a way to catch the last breath before a person dies to cure disease and the terminally ill. It's as of the stars aligned as it ends up with Susan who is dying of a disease herself. She soon discovers its powers and becomes cured of her illness.
Later, two other parties become interested in the box. Each of them with a different agenda on their minds. Soon, the dangers of the vials of breaths are explained, the history is revealed and the twists and turns unfold.
Respire starts off in classic mysterious fashion which I felt was done well. I like a good horror mystery and the pace was nice. Characters were developed and some tension thrown in. But then it all went kablooey. Soon we get a taste of slash and dash (with some decent spatter effects), a mini twizzler twist and then some out of place infection onslaught at the end. The movie just seemed off balance from the middle to the end.
The film is shot well, the performances not over the top and the details are blended in nicely. But the movie tries to do too many things in 90 minutes instead of focusing on doing a few things well. I'm not saying it's a bad film but as I said before way to highly ambitious for what they were trying to do.
Kudos to director David Cross for making a coherent story that had some interesting plot elements and some well rounded characters. Respire brings a bit of creativity to the world of indie horror but if you're looking for something awesome, don't hold your breath.
(see what I did there)
Slice and dice
I thought I saw boobs in some sort of frenetic memory montage. Or it could have been the last movie I saw
How the hell did this small Maryland town get infected so damn quickly?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
Respire will be available on DVD and Video on Demand (VoD) from MTI Home Video on February 15th.