Don't talk. Don't drop anything. Don't try to aggressively pull a padlock off a door with an army veteran sleeping upstairs.
No. Scratch that.
Don't assume the Blind Man had been successfully gassed and won't hear you shoot at said padlock.
Donít Breathe is a 2016 American thriller directed by Fede Alvarez, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Rodo Sayagues. It follows three young thieves (Jane Levy, Daniel Zovatto, Dylan Minnette) who rob the unsuspecting upper class Detroit families of their belongings, as a way to make money to get the hell out of dodge. In order to increase their gains overnight, the trio find themselves at a surprisingly dilapidated home in what appears to be an abandoned neighborhood, with hundreds of thousands of dollars rumored to be hidden somewhere on the property. Too bad for them - money isnít the only thing hidden in the home.
The Blind Man (Stephen Lang), as he is simply referred to, had lost his daughter to a wealthy young womanís reckless driving. The woman was acquitted of any wrongdoing and in a settlement, he was awarded $300,000. His ramshackle home is guarded by an adorably aggressive Rottweiler. The sense of paranoia is seen in the placement of bars on the windows, amount of locks on each main door, and an alarm system. It is made apparent this army veteran does not want anyone to enter the premisesÖ or, leave.
The initial feeling when the three semi-successfully break in, is an uneasy tension. The bleak, dusty, quiet atmosphere and the cinematography reels you in, almost placing you in the same scenario of desperation and uncertainty. The camera glides pass the characters, focusing on their breathing, as if you are exhaling alongside each one of them. You're touring the home, the floor boards creeking and not one door isnít in need of WD-40.
Stephen Lang is superb as the Blind Man. There are moments where you feel bad for him, only to be reminded shortly that he is a bit unhinged. Jane Levy was also great as the lead female of the film. We get to see a few different levels of her character, her background, and how badly desperation can steer your behavior.
Don't Breathe does not go without flaws. I donít know if having watched so many films over the years have numbed me to what many find ďan excellent breath of fresh airĒ, but I found it to become boring and pretty predictable. The tension dies down fairly quickly and the suspense comes and goes.
The twist in the Blind Manís character and what he was so eager to protect was not as shocking as the infamous baster scene read around the internet, but even that became comical. Yep, half of the theater laughed. It also Ė again, in my opinion Ė hurt itself with at least two plausible and strong endings that would have worked greatly, but instead, continued to go on. These moves never work for me, and unfortunately, interest was long lost and my friends and I were ready for it to be over.
Home Invasion movies are meant to scare you, for it is something that happens in this world. The reality of someone breaking in while you are asleep or simply unable to defend yourself, reminds you how vulnerable we all are. So naturally, having the protagonist become the antagonist in Don't Breathe was a great turn of events. However, I'm going to be one of those in a small group that felt some moments were a bit far-fetched. This, and the few inconsistencies that took place, made it a little difficult to pass as reality, which plays as a reminder - it is only a movie.
Don't Breathe has some fantastic acting, a strong story, and wonderful cinematography. But, it is one of those films that just doesn't live up completely to the hype.