The outlandish horror thriller with a hard R rating has gone by the wayside as of late for more ghostly tales like The Conjuring or Insidious franchises. The 1970s and 1980s were full of these twisted tales of suspense some deemed ‘slashers’ like Halloween, The Last House on the and Left and most recently the Scream franchise, which delivered frightening cinema without the supernatural involved. Sure, these film’s plot twists and killer moments were a tad unbelievable, but that’s part of the escapism fun of the movies and hypothetically these events could (and it’s a BIG could) happen in real life. Director Fede Alvarez brought back the gore in the Evil Dead remake and now he looks to make your knuckles white in his new wild horror thriller Don’t Breathe.
Don’t Breathe starts out very simple with three small time hoods robbing houses in Detroit looking for quick cash. Alvarez reunites with his Evil Dead star Jane Levy who plays Rocky, a member of the criminal trio that includes Dylan Minnette as nice guy Alex and her thug boyfriend Money played by Daniel Zovatto. The gang get a tip about a huge score sitting in a house occupied by its blind owner (Avatar‘s Stephen Lang) in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood. The crooks think the job will be easy, but get more than what they bargained for when the owner turns out to be a psychotic version of Marvel’s blind hero Daredevil and begins to terrorize the crew who must move around in complete silence not making a sound, hence the title Don’t Breathe.
As stated earlier in this review, there are some points in Don’t Breathe that will have you shaking your head questioning the realism, so certain expectations should be left at the theater’s door when you take your seat. If you are willing to do that, be prepared for an intense and terrifying experience as the blind man appears out of nowhere using his remaining senses to hunt down his assailants. Alvarez delivers some heart pounding scenes that will totally make you uncomfortable as you wonder how this will all turn out for either sides. You’ll find yourself holding your breath along with the cast as they try to avoid this crazy homeowner as he blindly swings weapons around searching for a target.
As far as gore goes, Director Fede Alvarez keeps the blood and guts to a minimum compared to his past work in Evil Dead. The film does have a twist that leads to a kitchen utensil involved sequence that is the grossest scene in movies since the dirty diaper to the face in The Visit. For the most part, Don’t Breathe relies on creating anxiety and tension as the story goes further down the rabbit hole during the film’s fast paced 88 minute running time. Don’t Breathe maybe unbelievable at times, but one thing is for certain. You’ll be on the edge of your seat watching this throwback horror thriller play out with Stephen Lang’s blind man becoming a new face of fear.
Overall I give Don’t Breathe 3 out of 4 stars.
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