Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Don't Breathe (2016): Review

Don't Breathe is 2016 home invasion horror film. Directed by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) and starring Jane Levy (Evil Dead), Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps, Let Me In) and Daniel Zovatto (It Follows). The film premiered at South by Southwest festival earlier this year.

The film follows three young burglars looking for one big score so they can escape the harsh realities of Detroit life. Money (Zovatto) discovers an army veteran that appears to be sitting on a fortune after his daughter was ran over and killed by a rich girl. Desperate to escape her domestic hell with her younger sister, Rocky (Levy) convinces Alex (Minnette) to join them and utilise his father’s security credentials to stage the break in. However, Money fails to mention that their target is also blind and will seldom leaves the house. This leads to obvious complications as the blind man turns the tables, trapping the burglars in the house and revealing he’s got a few more secrets in the basement.

Sensory based home invasion thrillers are like buses, you wait years for one, then two come along at the same time. I’m referring to Mike Flanagan’s Hush and now Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe, films featuring a deaf protagonist and a blind antagonist respectively. Both films use sound and vision as key plot devices but, it has to be said, Alvarez’s flawless direction pushes Don’t Breathe into a more ambitious arena. It took me a long time to like the Evil Dead remake(2013), but it eventually won me over with its intensity and vision and Don’t Breathe is no different.

However, like Evil Dead, it’s not without it’s flaws. I found the central characters to be pretty unsympathetic (perhaps intentionally) and unconvincing as seasoned burglars, apart from Money who was a parody of a criminal (I mean,his name's Money!). Similarly, although certainly imposing, A jacked up blind guy with a gun is not the most imaginative villain (I personally found the dog a lot scarier). Also, I felt they could have left the blind man as a more ambiguous character rather than going all Fritzl on us as, up until the third act, I wasn’t quite sure who was the villain and who was the victim.

A vintage home invasion set up with a sensory twist, Hush might have got there first, but Don’t Breathe manages to weave a more unpredictable plot around a neat gimmick. Alvarez has proven he’s capable of much more than gore soaked remakes and shows his flair for suspense, whilst not being afraid to “go there” (Jizz pipette anyone?). Don’t Breathe will thrill you, confuse you and disgust you.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of the movie? Did you prefer Hush?


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