Quick Hit: Excellent pacing, fun twists and turns, and terrific acting by the main villain. This thriller is definitely worth your time.
So apparently Detroit is the new place to stage horror movies. After the success of It Follows, it was expected that someone else would capitalize on the creepy, empty Motor City. With all the people in that city that are having trouble finding a job, it lent some realism to the story of a young woman with a child that needs money, and will start to rob to take care of her daughter.
I like realism in a story, so it was kind of refreshing to see things in this story that seemed real.
Don’t Breathe follows a trio of people that have been robbing people’s houses. They eventually fall upon a get rich quick scheme of robbing a blind war veteran who received a settlement when his daughter was run over by a teenage girl. First off, that’s a pretty terrible thing to do, and just reinforces this dog-eat-dog world that the film has built up to this point.
-If you may have noticed, I’m dancing a bit around the movie, because so much of the plot revolves around the surprise of the twists. It’s delicious (and at times disgusting) to experience these twists for the first time, so I want you, Dear Reader, to experience them yourself. Relish them, because twists that take you for surprise rarely come around these days.
So, as I’m not talking about the plot, I’ll talk about the acting. The last time I’d seen Stephen Lang was the short lived series Terra Nova and the cookie-cutter bad guy in Avatar. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised, and honestly a little taken aback by how strong his performance is in this movie. There are times he displays cunning, anger, fear, sadness, futility, strength, workmanship, despair, and a whole ‘nother set of adjectives that I could list. He absolutely knocks it out of the park in this movie, and is the main reason for seeing it (Plus that voice he uses is awesome - it just hit me it kinda sounds like Tom Hardy's Bane, but less electronic).
Levy gives an “I wanna be bad, but secretly I’m good” kinda vibe as well. Her motivations are a bit more understanding then everyone else’s because you get a good look at the life outside of the robberies, but still. Her acting throughout is capable, as is Minnette’s, but there is very little in their performances that sets them apart from standard horror movie fare (with the exception of one scene where Levy knocks it out of the park in pure unadulterated fear – You’ll know which one I’m talking about when you get to it).
There were also a lot of “this is happening because it’s a horror movie and that is what is gonna happen”. There’s enough horror clichés (characters that look dead but aren’t, characters that almost die but don’t) that I can’t completely recommend it. However, I really like the adaptive look of the film, which has a grunge like quality reminiscent of Detroit itself. Much of the cinematography is amazing, but what really needs to be appreciated is the sounds from the film. The sound editing is absolutely perfect. There is so much that is important about sound to a person that is disadvantaged with sight, and that is conveyed here. Along with that, the tactile nature of the filming makes the film so much
Overall, I really enjoyed Don’t Breathe. It’s one of the few movies this year that I’ve watched that hasn’t been predictable, and it also kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. You can’t do much better this Halloween season. It's up there with the ranks of You're Next and The Strangers in superior home invasion movies. I've heard that the feeling is similar in another movie about a person with sensory issues in Hush, so I've gotta check that out soon.
I'm giving Don't Breathe an "A-".
For more on this movie, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"