Dark Film Review – Don’t Breathe
Review Written by Casey Douglass
Don’t Breathe is another horror film from Fede Alvarez, and it takes an already adrenaline filled subject: burglary, and finds a way to twist it into something more horrific. The film follows Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto), characters who largely fall into “semi-likeable mother doing it for her kid”, “wet behind the ears lovelorn tag-along with access to keys” and “arsehole boyfriend”. The opportunity to burgle the house of a blind guy, who also happens to live in a derelict part of town, dangles the prospect of an easy score above the heads of the money-short trio, a job that sounds like it should be a piece of piss, easier than a more mundane burglary any day of the week. Wrong! This blind old man (Stephen Lang) has more than money in the house, and when he discovers their presence, blood is spilled not long after.
I enjoyed the core dynamic of the film a great deal, as it lent itself to so many situations in which the characters had to stand stock still, breath held (ah ha!), hoping that he wouldn’t realise that they were there. As a horror mechanic, it works very well. Later, in this fast paced film, the odds swing even more against the invaders as the blind man cuts power to all of the lights in the house. This leads to the night-vision fueled scurrying seen in the trailer, where he knows the layout, but the burglars walk into and knock over all kinds of things as they try to make their escape. Good stuff.
The narrative itself takes a number of twists and turns, many of which I didn’t see coming (no pun intended). From a minimal setting of the scene, the film launches into the “job” and pretty much doesn’t let up until the end. It wasn’t a scary or jumpy film, for me at least, but it did provide some great tense moments that left me impressed with it as a whole. The characters were largely forgettable horror fodder and I must admit that their fate didn’t really bother me one way or the other. I don’t think I ever found myself rooting for the blind man either, but there was certainly a feeling of sympathy involved, even after the film twists into something more sinister.
Don’t Breathe is well worth watching for the tension involved in the burglars’ trying to outwit a seemingly disadvantaged blind man. Don’t go expecting to be scared though, just maybe hope for some tension, and the chance to see something a bit different to the usual jump-scare fodder. I give it 4/5.
Don’t Breathe Images © Copyright Sony Pictures