“Don’t Breathe” stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang. Released on August 26, 2016, the film is about three robbers who become trapped in a house by a blind man.
The film is directed by Fede Alvarez, who is known for directing the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. The horror genre started off on the wrong foot during the beginning of 2016, but as the months pass, Hollywood managed to release some pretty solid films, such as The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out. The Darkness doesn’t count, by the way, because I found it to be a poor attempt to make itself scary. With the summer movie season drawing to a close, I thought it would be nice to review a horror film first before I get into some of the “good” stuff later on. This is the second feature film that Alvarez directed after taking on the ‘bloody’ experience known as Evil Dead three years ago. Instead of using the typical gore factor or any supernatural presence to scare its audience, he decided to go for the suspense route, which usually helps to get people’s hearts pounding like crazy. The most important thing about this route is the execution and, to be honest, I was impressed.
Let’s talk about the characters. The film’s main characters are three teenagers who rob stuff from people’s houses. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Why does this film have three delinquents as the main characters?” Well, basically, they did it for a reason, mostly Rocky, who is played by Jane Levy. While I didn’t care that much about the other robbers, such as Alex (Minnette) and Money (Zovatto), Rocky does manage to make me care about her a little. Not a lot, just a little. I thought Levy, Minnette, and Zovatto did a decent job portraying those characters, but Stephen Lang was a beast as the blind man. After seeing him in the role, I promised myself that I wouldn’t get on his bad side. That guy means business, and his intentions in the third act (without spoilers) was a bit shocking, to say the least. Alvarez did a very nice job at capturing the phobia of being in a house with a violent man who is blind. What also helps is that he uses tension and the film’s atmosphere to frighten his audience instead of relying on a lot of jump scares and gory images. There were times where the tension lost its momentum during the second act, but it did managed to pick itself up in the final act. There was also this one part, without spoilers, where I was “Oh man, it’s going to happen, isn’t it?” and when that scene happened, I asked myself, “Why did I see that coming?” However, it didn’t bother me that much because the film’s execution on its usual home invasion story got me engaged from beginning to end.
Overall, “Don’t Breathe” is a well-executed, intense thrill ride that will make you think twice before you try to rob a blind man. It doesn’t quite reach the level of shock value as some of the horror classics, but it does show that Fede Alvarez knows how to make a decent horror film. If you’re in a mood for something thrilling before you head back to school or college, I would say go check it out.