If You Haven’t Seen This, What’s Wrong With You?! Episode 4 : DON’T BREATHE
**THIS REVIEW IS ENTIRELY SPOILER FREE**
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of a film called DON’T BREATHE being the breath of fresh air horror fans desperately needed. In a world saturated by sequels and spin-offs, new blood is always welcomed. Usually, said new blood comes out on top, critically. Such was the case for films like IT FOLLOWS, THE BABADOOK, and THE NEON DEMON.
DON’T BREATHE, the newest feature from director Fede Alvarez (EVIL DEAD), continues that trend with one big difference; it’s actually making money. And BIG money at that.
DON’T BREATHE raked in a cool $26.1 million this weekend, which is practically unheard of when it comes to “non-franchised” horror cinema. For reference, the films mentioned above made $20 million, $7 million, and $3 million respectively throughout their entire theatrical run. DON’T BREATHE appears to be a different animal and we welcome that animal with open arms. Maybe, just maybe, the commercial success of this opening weekend will open the doors for other fresh ideas; saving us all from the travesty that would be INSIDIOUS 5, ANNABELLE 17, and JASON GOES TO SPACE, AGAIN: FRIDAY THE 13th XCVII.
DON’T BREATHE tells the story of Rocky, Alex, and Money; three Detroit thieves trying to better their lives by breaking into and robbing the homes of the wealthy. Money gets word about a blind veteran who was awarded a major cash settlement following the accidental death of his only child. Assuming he’d be an easy target, the three invade the man’s secluded home in a relatively abandoned neighborhood. Finding themselves trapped inside, the trio must fight for their lives after making a “shocking discovery” about their “helpless victim.”
That’s about all we can tell you without ruining the entire film.
DON’T BREATHE plays wonderfully on the “Home Invasion” sub-genre, flipping the cat-and-mouse concept, seen in films like YOU’RE NEXT, entirely on its head and delivering a unique take on one of (arguably) the most terrifying concepts in moviemaking. The hunter/hunted relationship is distorted several times and eventually delivers a twist that I honestly did not see coming.
The cinematography throughout is absolutely mesmerizing, utilizing techniques pioneered by Hitchcock and Sam Raimi (who produced, coincidentally) to make the relatively standard suburban home feel massive and cavernous; twisting and turning just enough to make the audience feel as disoriented as the hapless protagonists.
On top of all this, the acting is exquisite, making DON’T BREATHE one of those rare scenarios where you’re able to have your cake and eat it too. Stephen Lang (AVATAR) is utterly terrifying as the nameless Blind Man and Jane Levy (EVIL DEAD) shows off her acting chops as the remarkably sympathetic Rocky. Dylan Minnette (GOOSEBUMPS) is a welcome surprise as Alex and does a wonderful job playing the “straight man” of the group.
One of the more remarkable aspects of DON’T BREATHE is the social commentary peppered throughout. Like the desolate Motor City that houses the film, the characters themselves are desolate. Taking the concepts of desperation and grief to horrifying new levels in which they become almost unrecognizable. The claustrophobic, dank, and cluttered rooms of the Blind Man’s home are physical representations of his own emotion and internal struggle and it’s a struggle all of us are familiar with in some way or another. The house is as demented and deranged as the Blind Man’s mind has become and our three unfortunate anti-protagonists have become literally and figuratively stuck inside that mess.
DON’T BREATHE is one of those films that should be, if possible, experienced in a movie theatre; preferably with an audience. Sitting among the scores of people loudly gasping and clapping at the relentless and utterly insane twists and turns that become commonplace throughout, amped up my excitement and eventually enveloped me within it.
It was an amazing experience; one that I intend on experiencing more than once. DON’T BREATHE is a special film; a wild ride that isn’t afraid to beat up its’ passengers.
If you haven’t seen this, what’s wrong with you?!
DON’T BREATHE opened Friday, August 26th nationwide. See it while you can, it’s not one to be missed.
All 5 Good Guys wanna be Fede Alvarez’ best friend ’till the end.
‘DON’T BREATHE’ (2016) REVIEW