Reviewed by: Zombie Boy
David A. Cross
What's it about
A curio shop owner discovers a long-dead scientistís disease and aging panacea, but finds it comes attached with violence and death to those around her.
Is it good movie?
Respire starts off promisingly. After a classy black and white set up, where a scientist is shot dead and his wife captures his soul in a glass vial, we get a neat view of the box she hides it in changing hands over the decades. In a series of scenes cut together over era-appropriate music for each generation the box goes from soldiers during WWI to a fire sale to a pawn shop to a yard sale and eventually to a curio shop where it ends up in an online auction. Itís a refreshing change of pace from the typical genre film that would normally explain it all through clunky dialogue.
Unfortunately, the movie started going downhill as soon as the curio shop owner, Susan Jordan, was introduced. All the engaging visuals were put on hold and the clunky explanations began. Susan is terminally ill, which we are told through a doctorís visit and a bunch of pill bottles. When unassuming Raif Collins appears one day and wants to both buy the box and offer Susan $20K to procure for him a certain book, she does so, much to the chagrin of Alex Poe, who also bids on the item. Once home, Susan way too quickly figures out the book has a key to the box, and she inhales the scientistís soul.
From here on we get a series of reveals, about the nature of the drug the scientist created, how it relates to catching souls in bottles, and how inhaling such a soul will cause both a complete stop to the aging process, but which also comes with personality changes and near-uncontrollable violent tendencies. It never really makes much sense, but I really tried to go with it, despite the strange lighting and editing choices, and slightly hammy acting. Even the eleventh-hour reveal, concerning the motives of Raif and Alex and Alexís girlfriend Ruby, which I did not see coming, at first seemed clever but was quickly driven into the ground with the stake of logic.
By the time the film meanders to its Night of the Living Dead-inspired final act, I was far beyond caring. Iíve got a suspension of disbelief button that is quite a few times larger than normal, but this film just kept stomping on it over and over again with wild abandon. The viewer is asked too many times to ignore giant plot holes and accept shimmed-in plot devices, and it eventually kills whatever good spirits the beginning engendered.
Video / Audio
Video: The transfer on this screener sucks. The whole movie is bizarrely herky-jerky, and it made me seasick. I hope that was just a problem that occurred when this copy was burned to disc.
Audio: Again, a screener, so no stats, but the sound was fine.
There is a forced trailer at the beginning of this screenerÖfor Respire
The beginning of this film showed a promise that was blown to pieces about fifteen minutes in. Nothing ever connected or even made much sense. The film felt forced from then on, with a script that crammed square plot devices into round holes. Respire will leave you scratching your head so often itíll leave a bald spot. Avoid.