Over the long weekend, I finally got around to watching young horror director Fede Alvarez’s latest film, Don’t Breathe. Critically, it’s an in-the-middle thriller, while most of my friends hated or felt let down.
I just don’t get it.
Don’t Breathe doesn’t try to be bigger than it is: A blind man (Stephen Lang) is sitting on $1 million while three desperate teen burglars feel it would be easy to go unnoticed while stealing the money. Then, all chaos ensues once the teens learn the war veteran isn’t going out without a fight.
The film’s location is primarily within four walls, which adds to the tension. Around each corner lies a new surprise for Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and the bone-headed Money (Daniel Zovatto). All three didn’t have great performances, but Levy shined brightest. She seems to be a favorite lead actress of Alvarez’s (see: Evil Dead).
So, if you’re looking for ground-breaking acting, it’s not found in Don’t Breathe, but, based on each trailer, who expected the movie to find its foundation on the backs of three young actors? Credit to Lang for his depiction of a crazed old man who is living without his daughter, who died due to an alleged drunk driver. He made everyone uncomfortable and some shout, “You crazy!”
The build-up to each twitchy moment is thanks to great shot sequencing. There was a scene where the audience was taken room to room in one long tracking shot. Those long shots are either good or horrific — there’s not an in-between, and Alvarez nailed it. Another moment in the basement, where the blind man kills the lights and we get treated to a crazy, in-the-dark turn of events, utilized a sort of night vision filter. No score, no unnecessary sound effects, but just enough silence to hear each footstep that made you say, “Run!”
The movie didn’t feel too long or short — it felt like it ended at the right time. Don’t Breathe clocked in at a little over one hour, but Alvarez, with the help of producer and legendary horror director Sam Raimi, gave just enough story and twists to keep me interested.
Oh, and there’s a moment that the blind man gets a mouthful — and the scene made the lady next to me gag.