Don't Breathe review
2016’s summer seems to be a swell year for horror and thriller genre. The Conjuring 2, Lights Out, The Witch, and The Shallows found audiences that seemed to push away from the many reboots and sequels that filled the blockbuster season. A lot of that has to do with how these stories felt original, even though these kinds of stories have been told before. With the summer dealing with sharks, haunted houses, evil spirits and magic, what else could the horror genre bring? How about home invasion in reverse?
The film in question may contain some similarities to David Fincher’s Panic Room, but Don’t Breathe has some major differences. Rather then the main character being the homeowner fighting burglars, we now have the robbers in focus trying to get away from the homeowner. Oh, and the landlord happens to be blind as well. So this movie seems to have a bit of Wait Until Dark in it as well (If you haven’t seen it before, I highly recommend it as a great thriller with Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin). What’s funny is that with a lot of those film elements, Don’t Breathe happens to be a thrilling adventure, all confined in this one house with the goal of getting out.
In the slums of a ghost town looking Detroit, three twenty somethings, Rocky (played by Jane Levy), Alex (played by Dylan Minnette), and Money (played by Daniel Zovatto), are robbers who only take small cash and information, thanks to Alex’s connection to his father’s security who seems to handle most of the local houses alarm systems. Rocky has been looking to get her little sister out their broken home and make it to California to start a new life. She may finally get that chance with their latest tip about a resident who has hundreds of thousands stashed in his home.
When they get a glance at the blind guy’s house, they see that he lives in an abandoned neighborhood with a mean rottweiler has his seemingly only defense. On the night they attack, their break in seems to go well, putting to the dog to sleep and finding an entrance through the basement. Just as the burglars seem to find where the money is, the blind man (played by Stephen Lang) is awaken by the noise and fights back hard. While hiding, the blind guy blocks all exits, leaving the robbers in a battle to see who can get out alive.
Don’t Breathe is a very exciting thriller/horror that kept my theater quiet except for the occasional scream or gasp. Director Fede Alvarez (2013’s Evil Dead) and producer Sam Rami have given us an interesting perspective of sympathies and earned scares. A lot of that is all on the performers, so let get into that. Stephen Lang was probably the perfect choice for a role like this, who must be the toughest blind character I’ve seen in recent years. I also enjoyed the chemistry of Rocky and Alex’s characters as they do their best to stay alive in a true zone of darkness.
While film cannot recreate blindness well, Don’t Breathe pulls of a number of tactics to do so from night vision to the use of sounds that one would hear better when they keep their eyes shut. The story may have you confused over which character you want to feel for, the script does give you enough backstory for you to make the decision. I’m also glad that the movie kept it’s length short. It may seem like a bummer for those that want to be in the theater longer, Don’t Breathe knows when to keep giving you scares and when to stop. It all falls into sync.
I’ll give this four and a half white canes out of five. Don’t Breathe adds to 2016’s list of original movies that people will come out too. Not that Hollywood needs to make more horror movies, but I hope their at least seeing that people want more original content. Close your eyes, and experience the dark and light of Don’t Breathe.