STARRING: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Franciska Törőcsik, Emma Bercovici, Christian Zagia, Katia Bokor and Sergej Onopko
Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.
Don’t Breathe takes us to Detroit, Michigan where we follow three young criminals who make a living by breaking into homes secured by Alex’s father’s security company and see items that they steal. The woman from the trio, Rocky, dreams of getting enough money to move to California with her little sister Diddy to escape their neglectful mother. Money receives a tip that a blind Army veteran, living in an abandoned neighbourhood has $300,ooo lying in his house after receiving a settlement from a wealthy young woman who killed his daughter in a car accident. Soon the trio break into his house and realise that the blind man is not as helpless as he seems.
This year has been an interesting mixed bag when it comes to the horror genre. For every film I enjoyed that had horror elements to them (Green Room and 10 Cloverfield Lane), there’s a few that I disliked for playing as the typical horror film that just doesn’t grip me (The Forrest and The Boy). Don’t Breathe had finally arrived over the weekend to these shores with a lot of buzz from friends stateside and I must say the film thankfully lived up to the hype.
Major props go to the sound department working on this film, in the way that everything is heightened from footsteps, to door knobs, to breathing and yet its when the film goes completely silent is when the intensity is at its highest. I can still remember when Fede Alvarez came onto everyones radar on Youtube with his short film Panic Attack! (Ataque de Pánico!) and here his camerawork and style reminded he very much of David Fincher’s attention to detail in Panic Room, with how he uses a small set location to his advantage in creating an intense horrific thriller. Stephen Lang will probably get the most praised performance from the cast playing The Blind Man and even with his loss of sight, it doesn’t take away just how menacing and merciless the Army veteran is. Jane Levy gives a good, physical performance as Rocky and Dylan Minnette just seems to have that everyman quality that only a few young actors have and still manage to make them sympathetic.
With its simple premise and its solid execution, Don’t Breathe still has a few horror cliches with dog jump scares, some people seeming to be like a cat and have nine lives and the final scene just cheapened the overall experience for me.
A solid horror thriller from Fede Alvarez with some great camerawork and terrific use of sound, Stephen Lang is a menacing force to add to the intensity with these ingredients. Shame though that at times Don’t Breathe uses some cheap scares for jumps and the final scene just cheapened what transpired through the course of the film for me personally. 8/10