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Don’t Breathe Review


With 2013’s Evil Dead remake, Fede Alvarez had the unenviable task of re-doing the gore soaked cult classic for a new generation as his feature debut. And he pulled it off with style and copious amounts of fake blood, putting himself on a lot horror fans radar as a name to keep an eye on. Now three years later, we finally have his follow-up in Don’t Breathe, and make no mistake, this man is destined for great things.

What starts out as normal home invasion movie (albeit one where we’re expected to root for the invaders) becomes so much more as three down and out teens from Detroit (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette, and Daniel Zovatto) aim to earn enough money to escape their dead end lives by robbing the home of a reclusive blind army veteran (Stephen Lang, credited only as the Blind Man), who is said to be sitting on a nest egg of $300,000. But the trio actually break into the run down house, they discover the Blind Man isn’t as defenceless as they expected, and thus begins a desperate quest for survival.

From the off, Don’t Breathe is a lean, taut experience that just ladles on the tension to unbearable degrees. Alvarez is incredibly economical with the set-up, giving us enough to root for our lead cast of delinquents without overburdening the plot. Levy’s Rocky wants to take her younger sister away from their neglectful mother and her alcoholic boyfriend, Minette’s Alex is hopelessly in love with her, and Zovatto’s Money seems to just like taking other people’s stuff. That’s it. That’s all that is needed to get the trio into house, which kicks off the real meat of this particular story. Once Lang enters the frame, Don’t Breathe kicks into high gear and never really lets up. Save for one brief excursion outside, the action never leaves the house and Alverez does everything in his power to make the claustrophobic setting and pretty simple story work. And he does so wonderfully. Every moment is carefully planned, no jump scares here, and as the movie marches on, he only turns the screws tighter and tighter.

The Blind Man is a wonderfully conceived antagonist: silent, committed, and never once does he feel like anything other than a massive threat. As he stalks our leads, you feel a real sense of dread and fear as to what will happen them. But Alverez doesn’t rely on just that to get the audience to the edge of their seats, throwing up some really clever and brutal twists and turns to make this stand out from the usual home invasion fare (and will leave more than a few people in the audience feeling especially uneasy). If there is a downside to Don’t Breathe, it’s that the third act teases the ending three or four different times, only to further pull the rug from out underneath the audience. These false finishes don’t derail the story or erode the tension, but there were a few moments where it could have actually ended and would have been the perfect capper to the movie, instead of the seemingly tacked on last scene which awkwardly sets up a sequel.

A unique and refreshing addition to the home invasion thriller, Don’t Breathe takes a simple story and spins it off in clever, terrifying ways. A must for all horror fans!!!


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The Movie Bit: Don’t Breathe Review
Don’t Breathe Review
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