Nothing comes easy, no matter what you do. This is clearly evident in the new film by Fede Alvarez, Don’t Breathe. The film starts off rather quickly as we see three people robbing a house. Money, Rocky, and Alex make their money by stealing from others and making a quick buck. Rocky played by the talented Jane Levy is fantastic is this film as a young woman who wants to leave Detroit and head to California with her younger sister; only problem is that she needs money to make that dream and promise a reality.
Her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto) finds out some information about an Army Vet who is living in a poor looking neighborhood after receiving a substantial amount of money after a wealthy girl killed his daughter in a car accident. “Rumor is, this guy is sitting on at least 300k. Boom!” says Money who is sure that the robbery will be an easy score. Alex (Dylan Minnette) who is a close friend of Rocky is unsure and quite nervous since they only used to steal items, never money. He’s the smart one often reminding his partners of the consequences if they were to get caught by the authorities. After some talk and later discovering that the Army Vet is blind they all decide to go for the big score. “Just because he’s blind, don’t make him a Saint.” My oh my, does that line really offer some foreshadowing!
While the three sneak into the blind man’s home, the scene is slow, tense, and creepy as we don’t know what is going to happen next. Stephen Lang who is the blind Army Vet gives us a fantastic performance. Upon hearing the rumors about him, I felt sorry for the guy about to get robbed. What transpires throughout the 88-minute run time is just wow.
Fede Alvarez’s direction is great in this film. Once the trio enters the house, the camera lingers and follows each person giving us a view of inside the home as well as the tight corners. The photography is gorgeous in this film as well as the home we’ve been invited to see for ourselves, sort of reminding me of The People Under the Stairs, just without the comedy part. Some scenes that I will mention are the intense ones such as being chased by a relentless dog who foams at the mouth and one scene where Rocky and Alex are in pitch darkness almost fully disabled just like the blind man. And finally, a twist so clever, disturbing, and leaving your jaw hitting the floor that suddenly turns this film from a thriller to a straight horror film just by the utter of a couple words.
Fede Alvarez almost drowned us with the excessive amount of gore in Evil Dead; with Don’t Breathe the sheer tension, darkness, and final twist gives us something that will stick with us. The suspense is nail-biting, the acting is perfection, the musical score is terrifying, and although the ending is a bit cliched this is still a fantastic thriller/horror film. The fact that this film relies on thrills and chills is far better than just violence; we are involved as we peer around corners and nervous to open doors. Finally a worthy horror film arrives to offer us a scary villain, creepy atmosphere, killer soundtrack, and a twist that will have you talking about it for some time.
With an ending that does feel rushed and some questions that I was asking myself afterwards, Don’t Breathe does have some issues, but overlooking those for another time, this film delivers the thrills, the scares, and some shock value. Ghosts and apparitions have taken the solid form for the horror films today and now we are given a creepy character who feels like a plausible one; and what’s more scary than something that seems like it could happen? Don’t Breathe doesn’t get everything right, but it does it job and with that being said, this is one of the best thriller/horror films in recent years. Don’t miss it!