Don’t Breathe (2016)

October 12, 2016

Starring: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang, Dylan Minnette
Director: Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead [remake])

Bottom Line: Somehow, years after Eminem shared his vivid and sometimes scary tales of life in the slums of Detroit, horror filmmakers had the brilliant idea that these lonely projects are the perfect backdrop for a scary movie. Much like last year’s amazing and unique It Follows, Don’t Breathe once again takes us into the depths of Detroit, where a young girl named Rocky (Jane Levy) and her friends hatch the perfect plan to rob an old, blind war veteran that lives alone in an abandoned neighborhood. This plan is able to come to fruition mostly because Rocky’s friend Alex (Minnette) has a father that works for a security company and they are able to use that connection to gain access to people’s homes. Obviously, things don’t go as planned and the old man is far more capable than they ever could have imagined.

Detroit is such a good city for horror movies. It’s hard to imagine many settings where a film like Don’t Breathe could work, but an abandoned neighborhood in the Motor City, where there is absolutely no human traffic, is the perfect place. And it’s easy to believe this is a man that wants to be secluded. What’s not as believable is that this is a man that would have a security system in the first place. He had a daughter that was killed by a motorist (possibly drunk, I can’t remember) and you get the idea that her death was the end of any connection he had to society. So why does he have this system? I guess living in an abandoned area would raise anyone’s paranoia, but he’s well prepared for intruders and has Cujo for a guard dog. I’m not really buying it and you kind of realize the security system only exists for plot purposes and that it doesn’t really make sense for the character. Of course, pointing out plot holes in scary movies is a silly practice…

…but Don’t Breathe is a good scary movie. Once you can get past some of the silliness (like the team finishing off a joint just before breaking into the house – nothing like a good high when performing an occupied home invasion!) Don’t Breathe is a solid thriller – it’s crazy tense with lots of good scares. And the poor, victimized blind man is even scarier than you can imagine. I’m yet to see the remake of Evil Dead but the team of director Fede Alvarez and Jane Levy as the star are a good match here and that project is now on my must see list.

Don’t Breathe is currently the best horror film of 2016 and one of the best films in the genre of the last several years. It’s a must see for fans of scary films and an all around good time at the movies.

Replay Value: Not as good as It Follows, but definitely worth seeing again.
Oscar Potential: Can’t imagine any.

Grade: 6.5/10 (Recommended/Must See)

SPOILER ALERT: Okay, so the big surprise of the movie is that the blind man has the woman that accidentally killed his daughter locked up in his basement. She was found not guilty of vehicular manslaughter and was able to go free. And now she’s in his basement. Think about this for a second. How difficult would it be for a blind man to not only find out where and when to find this girl, capture her by surprise, and do so while making sure there are no witnesses.


Sequel Potential: Spoiler alert! Maybe. The blind man lives.

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