The home invasion thriller genre has been around a long time and while some were good, most were average to mediocre. Late summer usually is the time when studios release their crappy action or horror films but thankfully Don’t Breathe doesn’t fall in that category. In fact, it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve seen in a long time.
Set in the slums of Detroit, three thieves decided they’re going to break into a blind man’s house and steal his money in order to leave their crappy life and city. One of the thieves is Rocky (Jane Levy), she wants to move out of her home and take her young sister to LA to get away from her drunken mom and her creepy boyfriend. The other two members are Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto). Dylan’s father runs a security company in the city so he’s able to have access to all of the homes they’ve robbed and Money is Rocky’s boyfriend and the muscle of the group.
After a not-so-profitable robbery, Money found out that a blind man (Stephen Lang) received a huge sum of cash from a car accident settlement and this could be their big payday that they all need. The blind man lives in a deserted part of the city and they all agreed it’s going to be an easy score. What they don’t know is that the blind man is an ex military man who was part of Special Forces and he’s good with weapons and hand to hand combat. Once the thieves broke into the blind man’s house, they realized it’s basically a trap and for the rest of the movie, the young thieves had to fight for their lives in order to escape the creepy house.
The young actors were good in their respective roles, since it’s a horror/thriller, the hero has to be the pretty young lady and Levy fit that description. The film didn’t require a lot of dialog, so Levy had to use her face and body to make her performance believable. There’s a really cool sequence early in the film where both Rocky and Alex got stuck in a darken room and both of the actors had to act basically in the dark and both did quite well. Stephen Lang who’s been type cast throughout his career as the bad guy and here he delivered another good performance as the not-so-innocent blind man.
In most of the home invasion films, the story has always been from the perspective of the homeowners so it’s quite refreshing to see this film told from the perspective of the invaders. Written by Fede Alvarez (who also directed the film) and Rodo Sayagues, these two didn’t come up with anything new but somehow made the genre felt fresh. The story has enough suspense and scares that will satisfy those who craves a good thriller. They did throw in a little twist halfway through the story that will make some audiences squirm in their seats. Of course this being referred to as a “horror” movie, some of the actions by the characters will have people scratching their heads or just downright angry.
Director Fede Alvarez did a great job of moving the story along at brisk pace. Since the film didn’t have a lot of dialogs, he used cameras and sounds to engage the audience. Clearly he must’ve studied the look and feel of the film from David Fincher’s underrated thriller Panic Room. A lot of shots and camera work reminded me of that film and I didn’t mind Alvarez copied Fincher’s style, heck it worked in that film and it worked here. Even though some are referring this film as horror, it hardly contains any gore or extreme violent scenes. It’s pretty tame for this kind of genre; in fact if you’re going into this film expecting to see blood and gore, you’ll be sorely disappointed. If you want to see a good thriller with some few jump scare moments, then you’ll dig this film.
So have you seen Don’t Breathe? Well, what did you think?