Directed by Fede Alvarez
Starring Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minette & Danielle Zovatto
2016 has been a excellent year for stellar horror films, Conjuring 2, Lights Out & Green Room have all helped revive a genre filled with cheap cash ins and cliches. ‘Don’t Breathe’ looks to add another fine feather to the cap with its home invasion flick.
Director Fede Alvarez is already known among horror fans for his savage ‘Evil Dead’ film from 2013. ‘Don’t Breathe’ is no where near as brutal, but it is one of the most suspenseful films of the year so far!
The film follows the misadventures of a young trio of friends (Levy, Minette, Zovatto) who rob the homes of the rich, but make the grave mistake of attempting to rob the home of a blind army veteran (Lang).
You could split the film into 2 halves. The first half is truly amazing. After the break-in is botched, and one of the robbers is killed, the film takes on a predator like feel. As the survivors attempt to hide and escape from ‘The Blind Man’. He may be blind, but similar to ‘Daredevil’, he has honed his other senses, in such a way he is still a formidable foe! Stephen Lang does a wonderful job playing The Blind Man, his muscular physique simply adding to the danger of the rabid pursuer. The filming during the home invasion at some points is a cut above the rest. The long tracking shots, as the camera follows the protagonists around the house really cranks up the tension! The scene in the basement in the dark has to be one of the most intense scenes in any horror film!
After a twist in the middle of the film, the movie takes on a slightly more over-dramatic tone, the Blind Man is still formidable, but the twist seemed like a cheap ploy to make the audience root against him, and the typical horror cliches start to pile up in the second half. The burglars are not exactly characters you feel sympathetic for. Sure one of them is doing this to help her sister have a better life, but at the same time, robbery doesn’t exactly get you points for sympathy! While one of the characters you simply can’t wait to die, as they are so irritating! After a riveting, on the edge opening half, the film does not maintain it’s drama over the entire course of the run-time, and it does get rather predictable. This should not take away from the sheer excellence of the initial hunting phase of the film. Some may enjoy the twist reveal, some may not! It is certainly a film of two halves!
7/10, wonderful concept, slightly ruined by the over-dramatic second half