Three youths in Detroit see a way out with burglary and a major pay day but things get complicated.
The setup of Don’t Breathe is just an excuse to get three young folks and one blind man into an isolated single location so that all heck can break loose.
Director Fede Alvarez had mixed success with the attempted Evil Dead reboot but he’s on firmer territory here, especially when it comes to those tense moments. Long shots are drawn out while the gimmicks of darkness and blindness and fear leave the audience on the edge of their seats.
It’s often strong stuff, and also has moments of extreme violence, which will come as no surprise to those who caught Evil Dead. It’s certainly a more subtle film, and all the better for that, but some of the decisions in the latter half verge on tasteless.
The characters are also a bit problematic, mostly because they’re either wholly unlikeable or shockingly stupid. We’ve come to expect a little more from the horror genre in recent years, but these folks are hard to get on board with.
Stephen Lang, who you may recognise from James Cameron’s Avatar, is by far the most entertaining part of the film. His handicap is used to great effect for added scares, especially when those lights go out.
After the success of The Shallows, Sony seems to be onto a bit of a winner with their low budget genre offerings. Don’t be surprised to see more at this low budget level from the studio in the future.
Don’t Breathe is a very effective horror/thriller hybrid with a strong sense of style and a wicked commitment to tension. It’s also frequently awkward in its more dramatic scenes and features one of the worst kid actors I’ve ever seen, but those elements are easily forgotten when the faeces hits the fan.