I’ve been wanting to review a horror movie for quite some time, as I love this genre. Frankly, horror movies this year have not been so great and I had my doubts about this one going in, but I’m glad that my first posted horror review can be one that I highly recommend.
Don’t Breathe is directed by Fede Alvarez and stars Steven Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto.
This movie starts out as a thriller but at a certain point about half-way through the second act, switches gears radically and becomes, without a doubt, a top-notch horror movie. There are no aliens or supernatural ghouls or vampires, and it is the lack of those elements that make this experience far more terrifying because believe me, things happen in this movie you do not expect.
The setup is the height of simplicity: three Detroit teens who have made a successful run at robbing houses get a tip about an old veteran who got a multi-million dollar settlement following the drunk driving death of his daughter. They scope out his place and find it in an almost deserted neighborhood and what’s more, the old guy is blind. Figuring this is going to be an easy score, they break in to his place only to find out the hard way that maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
The trick to this movie is that while the setup is simple, by the time you are done you have watched a multi-layered plot with elements you never saw coming at the beginning, each layer added piece by piece as the teens go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.
The initial character build up is better than most low-budget horror movies in terms of setting up the characters, especially Rocky played by Jane Levy. While this does evoke some sympathy for her, you have no doubt when all three are breaking in to this place that they are not good guys and you are not particularly on their side.
Quality horror movies depend on building tension or suspense, not showing you too much too soon but enough that you think you know what’s coming but can’t be totally sure. Where so many go wrong is that they either ruin the tension they have created with cheap shocks that don’t really mean anything or go for a kind of torture porn where the blood splatter and gore is supposed to be the payoff.
The longer a movie can keep you on edge, balanced between wanting to know what is going to happen next and the fear of finding out, the better the director is doing his job. Fede Alvarez has done an excellent job on this one, using music and sound especially effectively as well as close and long camera shots and not letting you take anything for granted. It is tight, even claustrophobic in places and presenting realistic obstacles that never the let the characters get an easy way out. There is one sequence of total darkness that is masterfully done and puts you squrely in the middle of the action.
Alvarez got really great performances out of each of the teens, but Steven Lang is really powerful here. He has a commanding presence when he’s on screen and most of his job here was intensely physical without much talking. He has to make you believe a lot about this character from his military background to the horrible tragedy he experienced in losing his daughter to a lot of other things which I won’t spoil and he pulls it all off.
If you want an amazing horror movie experience that delivers at every level, Don’t Breathe is a must-see, the sooner the better so it doesn’t get ruined with spoilers. I am giving this movie a rating of Totally Awesome. I absolutely loved it! You let me know what you think after you see it.
If you haven’t subscribed to my channel, hit that subscribe button now and get a gander at the rest of my amazing content. Until next time, have fun and thanks for coming by.