Don't Breathe: Film Review
Cast: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Stephen Lang, Daniel Zovatto
Director: Fede Alvarez
"There is nothing a man cannot do once he accepts the fact there is no God."
After splattering up the woods with blood in the Evil Dead remake, Fede Alvarez turns his twisted attention to a siege thriller, that's more about suspense than outright horror.
Desperation haunts Don't Breathe's characters in more ways than one.
Minnette, Levy and Zovatto play a trio of teens casually robbing houses and searching for a pay-off. Determined that one last raid will help them out of the Detroit hell-hole they inhabit, the trio of Rocky, Alex and Money decide to hit the house of a Gulf War vet (Lang), who is apparently sitting on a fortune in his house after a pay-out from the death of his daughter.
But the trio finds the break-in is far from what's expected - and soon, the tables are turned on the crims...
To say Don't Breathe is a taut thriller that grabs you by the throat and sends you to the edge of your seat is perhaps an understatement. (As Marge Gunderson once said "All this for a little bit of money" - it's quite appropriate in this case).
Best viewed fresh and without any of the twists spoiled, the film subverts your expectations and turns it on its head - while Minnette spends a lot of the film wide-eyed and looking shocked, it's Levy and Lang's underplaying of their roles that speak volumes.
Coupled with Alvarez's smart directorial touches (low camera shots and swooping cameras add to the sense of claustrophobia and tension), there's plenty to dive into in this film. A bravura basement sequence early on is fiendishly unfurled and smartly executed and perhaps one of the high points of this suspense thriller.
Using the briefest touches of character (Levy's Alex is afforded the most hints of a life outside of the house) proves to be wise, giving a sparing yet simple reason to sympathise with the gang. But, Alvarez is also clever enough to use some brief moments to make you re-think your loyalties with Stephen Lang's dweller. (Though one final sequence may seem a tad too far).
Ultimately visceral and quite suspenseful, Don't Breathe is a thrill-ride worth strapping in for.
Taut and lean, its 90 minutes run time seems just about right, and with a slightly warped viewpoint, the genre flick is insidiously clever in its growing ever tighter grip of suspense.