BREATH (no, not 2017’s romantic movie Breathe and not the Sundance short horror film, Breathe) comes from co-writer and director, John Real (aka Marzagalli Giovanni). It stars a limited cast helmed by Rachel Daigh, and co-starring James Cosmo and Neb Chupin.
The story is about a family who speaks in all different accents, with a mother at the front and center (Daigh), Lara (who I swear some pronounce as “Laura”, so I kept getting confused). Lara is a geologist who takes her job too seriously because she’s late to parties a la Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way.
When she stays late yet again at the geology site, her life changes in the blink of an eye. Falling down into a crevasse, she has only her wits and will to help her escape before she succumbs to the elements. But does she have the strength?
So, BREATH is an ambitious project from Real. I think that there’s a genuine and real (sorry, couldn’t resist) story. It has a lot of dramatic tones that resonate and could have been a very compelling and gripping story. However, in these types of survivalist horror films, you absolutely need to keep the audience engaged and suspend their disbelief. Because, upon closer inspection, they know those rock walls are fake as all get out. We know that the actress is not in real danger or turmoil. So, there needs to be some groundwork done to draw us into the character’s dilemma onscreen.
We need to have so much connection with the character so, that we are invested in every moment. Or else the audience will be frustrated or bored as hell. Instead of being Gerald’s Game or 127 Hours, you’ll end up with the non-Disney Frozen from 2010 or Tubi’s unfortunate knock-off, Swim.
And the other issue with the character was that it was the whole, “I’ve tried nothing and I’m all out of ideas” meme for more than half the movie. I understand that it’s an allegory for loss and depression. Trust me, right there, pal; having the worst year of my life, I’m in that hole. But what we need as an audience are those small bits of ingenuity and the fighting human spirit throughout. As Lara tries to get out, she’s constantly telling herself she can’t, which I get as a human, but it’s just not satisfying to watch.
Side note, the geology geek in me was upset about the lack of geology! She’s a geologist. I thought her training or knowledge would come into play. Also, eat that snake!
BREATH just didn’t reach its full potential. With its lackluster chemistry between the characters, the awful and monotone voice-overs, the confusing twist at the end, the horrendous “underwater” special effects, BREATH just couldn’t pull itself out of the hole. If you enjoy survivalist horror, you might like it, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
BREATH is now available on Digital via Uncork’d Entertainment.